Walmart store exterior in 2020 August 23 North Bergen, New Jersey
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Walmart confirmed on Wednesday that about a week after the company began laying off corporate employees lowered its earnings outlook and warned that consumers have given up discretionary spending because of 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 spokeswoman for Walmart, declined to say how many workers would be affected or which departments experienced cuts. Walmart is still hiring in parts of its business that are growing, including supply chain, e-commerce, health and wellness and advertising sales, she said.
“Buyers are changing. Customers are changing,” she said. “We’re doing some restructuring to make sure we’re aligned.
The company’s layoffs were the first to report The Wall Street Journal.
Walmart is the nation’s largest employer, with nearly 1.6 million employees. workers in the US. The company, considered a bellwether for the country’s economy, spooked investors last week when it cut its quarterly and full-year profit forecasts. The warning had a chilling effect on the retail sector, reducing inventories at companies including Macy’s and Amazon and sending a signal about the health of American consumers.
Walmart said at the time that shoppers were spending more on essentials like groceries and gas and were not buying high-margin items like clothing. She said she would have to cut prices to sell more of these items, esp like the inventory piled up in its stores and such competitors as Purpose and Bed Bath and Beyond.
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