Walmart is laying off more than 2,000 workers at five US warehouses that fulfill website orders, weeks after America’s largest private employer warned it’s in for a tough year ahead.
The retail giant is cutting more than 1,000 jobs in Texas, 600 jobs in Pennsylvania, 400 in Florida and 200 in New Jersey, according to Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification (WARN) filings. Reuters first reported last month that the job cuts were because of reductions and elimination in evening and weekend shifts.
Walmart said in a statement that it “recently adjusted staffing levels at our fulfillment centers in select markets to better prepare for the future needs of customers” and that it was a decision that wasn’t “made lightly.” It said that it’s “working closely with affected associates to help them understand what career options may be available at other Walmart locations.”
However, it’s unclear whether this is just the beginning or end of layoffs that have been affecting many large companies.
In the company’s most recent earnings, Walmart told investors to expect slower sales and profit growth. It also recently announced that it will raise its average minimum wage from $12 to $14 an hour as it tries to retain store workers in a tight labor market for lower-wage industries.
As a result, that will impact profit, squeezing margins at the same time as its core lower-income shoppers continue to be hit by inflation, which could dent its sales this year.
“The consumer is still very pressured,” Walmart CFO John Rainey told CNBC in February. “And if you look at economic indicators, balance sheets are running thinner and savings rates are declining relative to previous periods. And so that’s why we take a pretty cautious outlook on the rest of the year.”
Walmart hasn’t had mass layoffs like e-commerce rival Amazon. The online retailer has eliminated roughly 30,000 jobs since the beginning of the year across several divisions.
The latest layoffs at Amazon (AMZN) come amid a spate of job cuts in the technology industry in recent months, as the sector confronts a whiplash in pandemic-induced demand for digital goods and services and broader macroeconomic uncertainty.