Walmart has begun laying of 2,000 workers at a number of fulfillment centers to help the retail giant contend with an uncertain economic climate.
Citing Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification (WARN) filings, CNN reported eliminating more than 2,000 positions – 1,000 in Texas, 600 in Pennsylvania, 400 in Florida, and 200 in New Jersey.
Reuters reported in February that 200 workers had been let go and hundreds were encouraged to find new positions at different locations within 90 days. A spokesman for the company attributed the change to a reduction in the number of night and weekend shifts.
“We recently adjusted staffing levels to better prepare for the future needs of customers,” a statement from the company said, per Reuters.
Walmart’s Chief Financial Officer, John David Rainey, told CNBC that month that customers are engaging in less discretionary spending due to inflated prices, hurting sales.
“The consumer is still very pressured,” he told the outlet. “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.”
Reuter noted that Walmart CEO, Doug McMillon, said on a post-earnings call that the company planned to devote some of its $15 billion capital expenditure budget to automation, saying he was “most excited about the automation opportunity we have.”
CNN observed that Walmart’s layoffs are less extensive than those of its main e-commerce competitor Amazon, which has laid off around 30,000 workers after a “whiplash in pandemic-induced demand for digital goods and services and broader macroeconomic uncertainty.”
However, CNBC noted Walmart’s expected 2 to 2.5 percent increase in same-store sales excluding fuel for the fiscal year ahead undershot the predictions of analysts, who anticipated three percent growth in that metric.
Additionally, Rainey said the company’s forecast for this year is marked by “trepidation and uncertainty with the economic outlook.”