Walmart filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) letter on Wednesday (June 19) detailing the closure of its jewelry distribution center No. 6051 (Bentonville) effective Aug. 31. The closure of the operation will help make room for the company’s new corporate headquarters.
Anne Hatfield, corporate spokeswoman for Walmart, said 158 employees will be impacted by the closure. She said the operations will be transferred to Marlow, Okla., and employees were told of the pending closure in March 2018. The 158 employees chose to stay on board and wind down the operation. They can apply for other jobs within the company or take the severance package commensurate with their years of employment.
Hatfield said other facilities already impacted from the new home office location include the fashion distribution, return center and print services. In October, roughly 500 people working at the return center were impacted from a similar closure. All but 135 of those workers transferred to other facilities.
Walmart said last year there were an estimated 5,000 workers in offices located in the proposed building site for the new corporate headquarters. The moves include several hundred employees who have relocated to the new fashion distribution center located at 5800 S.W. Regional Airport Road in Bentonville, across the highway from the large general merchandise distribution center.
As Walmart has continued to shrink its corporate headcount in recent years, the retailer still employs roughly 15,000 in its back office and corporate operations in Northwest Arkansas. Additionally, there are about 10,000 jobs in the region’s supplier community linked to Walmart’s retail business.
As Walmart also continues to grow its footprint across the nation and world with more acquisitions and additional corporate offices like in Hoboken, New Jersey, San Bruno, Calif.,Madison Heights, Mich., or New Delhi, India, local leaders were pleased to see the retail giant commit to a new home office in Bentonville.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told employees a year ago the new home office is a “stake in the ground to say this is a company that’s going to be here in 50 years time or more.”