One Day After Giving Raises And Bonuses, Wal-Mart Cuts Jobs

Well, this is something.

One day after announcing massive bonuses and raises for over one million employees, Walmart stores said they’re going to start firing people.

But the pink slips the retail giant is handing out are for top executives at the company – 1,000 corporate jobs, they said. In other words: People who will likely land back on their feet.

The cuts will be largely at the company’s Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters and will be broad-based, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. They’re starting now and are expected to be completed by the end of the month.

“We’ve been looking at our structure for some time as we explore ways to operate more effectively,” a Wal-Mart spokesman said, without confirming that job cuts are planned this month.

The expected corporate job cuts add to around 10,000 store jobs being eliminated this month as Wal-Mart closes 63 Sam’s Club locations, about 10% of the warehouse club’s U.S. stores. The company disclosed the Sam’s Club closings on Thursday, the same day it said it would raise starting wages for U.S. store workers, hand out one-time bonuses and enhance parental benefits.

The company is trimming jobs to create an e-commerce site to compete with Amazon. It closed more than 150 stores in the US in 2016 and has slowed openings, while buying some online retailers like Jet.com.

The company is adding more assistant managers who will focus on things like order pickup and eliminate other assistant manager positions.

They’re also toying with a position called “co-manager” to be a stepping stone to store manager.

“Retail is changing rapidly and we are transforming to meet the needs of our customers,” said Wal-Mart spokesman Blake Jackson. “To help compete and win in this environment, we must make changes across our company to enable further investments in our strategic business priorities and growth.”

Earlier this week, Walmart announced they were giving bonuses up to $1,000 to as many as one million employees, expanding maternal and paternal leave and adding an adoption benefit.

All of these “pluses” for workers are a direct result of the Trump tax reforms.

“Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.,” Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said in the statement.

McMillon said the wage increases and bonuses were the retailer’s response to a U.S. tax overhaul that will decrease the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35%. But analysts said the cost of the moves were just a slice of the company’s expected tax benefit and the retailer was also reacting to competition for low-skilled hourly workers.

Under Mr. McMillon Wal-Mart has had several rounds of job cuts, including about 7,000 back-office store jobs and about 16,000 positions from store closures in 2016 and over 1,000 corporate jobs early last year.

It has also added thousands of positions to stores including workers who collect items for online pickup orders, said a spokesman. Around two-thirds of the workers whose jobs were cut during the 2016 store closures remained with the company, he said.

Globally, Walmart has more than two million employees.