Bloomberg reports that Walmart, looking to eliminate costs and streamline its US business, is laying off "hundreds of workers in its store planning, logistics and real estate units" as it looks to integrate its bricks-and-mortar and online businesses.
In an email to Bloomberg, a Walmart spokesperson said, "We are continuing on our journey to create an omni-channel organization within our Walmart U.S. business and we’re making some additional changes this week." The goal, the spokesperson said, is to increase “innovation, speed and productivity.”
Bloomberg writes: "The move is an acknowledgment that Walmart is simply not opening many new stores in the U.S. anymore, so it doesn’t need as many people to find new locations and design them. It’s also part of a multi-year streamlining effort that has sought to simplify its U.S. operations and consolidate its brick-and-mortar and online divisions."
CNBC provides some additional context:
"Walmart is trying to turn its e-commerce business into a profitable one. It’s made a series of organizational changes and announcements in recent months. In late February, the company merged its buyer teams on the store and online side to decrease conflicts over the pricing of products online and in-store. It struck deals with secondhand apparel and accessories site ThredUp in May and with Shopify in June to expand the assortment of goods and add new brands to its website.
"It announced in May that it would wind down its Jet.com brand. And it’s expected to launch a subscription-based service called Walmart+ to better compete with Amazon Prime.
"Online sales have become even more crucial for the retailer during the coronavirus pandemic. Walmart’s e-commerce sales in the U.S. shot up by 74% in the first quarter, which ended April 30."
- KC's View:
I've been arguing since the beginning of the pandemic that every company - no matter how big or small - has to be different in some way coming out of the pandemic than it was going in. Walmart is simply doing what it must - adapting to an accelerated e-commerce environment and getting its various operations in line with consumers need and wants.
This is very smart. It probably also isn't the end of its moves … Doug McMillon seems to understand that even Walmart has to be a work-in-progress.