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Walmart to cut hundreds of head office jobs

| International retailers

Walmart Stores is planning job cuts at its headquarters that could involve hundreds of workers, including senior managers, according to people familiar with the situation.

The cuts are expected to begin in the next week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

The move is part of CEO Doug McMillon’s efforts to reduce costs at the retailer while it boosts investment in other areas, including higher wages for store workers.

The company has about 19,000 employees at its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The job cuts were previously reported by the Wall Street Journal. Deisha Barnett, a spokeswoman at Walmart, declined to comment.

Mr McMillon has been working to balance a desire to improve Walmart’s customer service — partly through increased spending on his workforce — against pressure from investors to keep profit growing.

Labour costs have increased as Walmart raised its minimum wage to $9 an hour in April. This has weighed on earnings, which missed analysts’ estimates last quarter.

At the same time, Walmart is trying to maintain low prices to fend off rivals.

Walmart shares have declined 24% this year, trailing the 6.7% decline of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

Walmart’s push to rein in costs has included putting more pressure on suppliers. The company is enforcing storage fees for using its distribution centres, warehouses and shelf space.

E-commerce push

The company also is looking to e-commerce to help bolster sales. It said earlier this week that it would expand its pickup service for online grocery orders, pushing deeper into a market where Amazon, Target and Google are all scrambling for customers.

Starting in October, some Walmart stores in Atlanta, Salt Lake City and six other US cities will add the free grocery pickup option, the retailer said on Tuesday.

That means customers will be able to order items online, select a time to pick them up, and have an employee deliver the food to their car when they arrive.

Walmart is currently offering the service in five other markets, part of a test that first began in 2011.

Bloomberg

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