- As Walmart looks to build out its omnichannel capabilities and centralize merchandising, it is restructuring parts of its corporate workforce.
- In an internal memo emailed to Retail Dive, Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner and Walmart U.S. eCommerce chief Marc Lore said the company would be "streamlining some roles so we can be more effective and efficient" while creating some new roles around supply chain, stores and other facilities. Those losing their jobs in the reorganization would have chances to apply for other jobs at Walmart or receive benefits and severance.
- Bloomberg reported Thursday citing anonymous sources that Walmart has laid off "hundreds" of employees across its planning, logistics, merchandising and real estate units.
Walmart's e-commerce division has been in a near-constant state of flux since the retailer acquired Jet.com, and with it Lore, who co-founded the e-commerce site.
In February, Walmart began to consolidate its digital and in-store buying teams into a single merchandising organization. As Walmart's digital and store sales become ever more entangled, merging buying teams is meant to be a way to simplify buying and improve communication with vendors, while also making the website better reflect what's in Walmart's stores.
Of the latest restructuring and job eliminations, Furner and Lore pointed to the continued evolution of the retailer's omnichannel operations and the pressure put on it by the pandemic. "We need to keep leaning into these new ways of working," they said in their memo. "We need to continue on the road of creating one merchandising team that takes a unified view of the customer, to have a product team that can get ahead of what our customers are looking for and to operate more effectively with better data and technology throughout our organization."
Among other moves Walmart has made to restructure its e-commerce unit, it decided to retire the Jet website this year. CEO Doug McMillon said at the time that the retailer's Walmart.com e-commerce site had come to dominate the resources and people devoted to the retailer's overall e-commerce operation because of the traction it has with consumers.
At the time McMillon couched the decision to nix Jet.com in a broader discussion about Walmart's efforts to cut costs and become more efficient as the retailer managed the deluge of pandemic shopping and shift to online among consumers trying to stay out of stores.
Killing Jet was perhaps the logical endpoint of a series of tactical retreats in Walmart's online strategy. Last year, the company eliminated Jet's independent executive. It has also sold off ModCloth, one of the brands meant to attract consumers specifically to Jet, and axed its Jet Black shop-by-text service tailored to rich urbanites.
Amid all of these changes, press reports have surfaced pointing to large losses taken on by Walmart's e-commerce unit and internal tension in the staid retail company accustomed to profit and prudent fiscal policy.
All that said, the retailer posted explosive growth in its e-commerce business in its first quarter, which puts even more pressure on Walmart to get its omnichannel operations right.