Walmart lays off company staff after slashing forecast

A view from the outside of a Walmart store on August 23, 2020 in North Bergen, New Jersey

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Walmart confirmed on Wednesday that it has begun laying off corporate employees about a week after the company slashed its profit prospects and a warning that consumers have pulled back on discretionary spending due to inflation.

In a statement to CNBC, the retail giant described the layoffs as a way to “better position the company for a strong future.”

Anne Hatfield, a Walmart spokeswoman, declined to say how many workers will be affected and which divisions are experiencing cuts. She said Walmart is still hiring in parts of its growing business, including supply chain, e-commerce, health and wellness and advertising sales.

“Shoppers are changing. Customers are changing,” she said. “We’re doing some restructuring to make sure we’re aligned.”

The corporate layoffs were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Walmart is the nation’s largest employer with nearly 1.6 million workers in the U.S. The company, seen as a bellwether for the nation’s economy, spooked investors last week when it cut its outlook for quarterly and full-year profit guidance. . That warning had a chilling effect on the retail sector, dragging down the stocks of companies including Macy’s and Amazon and to send up a flare about the health of the American consumer.

Walmart said at the time that as shoppers spent more on necessities like groceries and fuel, they were skipping over high-margin items like clothing. He said he would have to cut prices to sell more of those items, in particular as inventory piled up in their stores and by competitors such as Target and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Later that same week, Best Buy cut its profit and sales forecast, saying demand for consumer electronics was waning – big-ticket discretionary purchases that some shoppers may put off.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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