Walmart to lay off hundreds of workers at some e-commerce fulfillment centers

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 2,304 views 

Walmart on Thursday (March 23) announced worker layoffs in at least five U.S. e-commerce fulfillment centers. Walmart said the impacted workers were asked to find other jobs within 90 days at other company locations as their jobs were being eliminated.

Walmart provided Talk Business & Politics with the following statement regarding the job eliminations:

“Customer expectations are changing, and we are moving quickly to meet and exceed their needs. As demand grows, we are maximizing our network of stores and fulfillment centers, to deliver items for online customers, when and how they want them. We recently adjusted staffing levels at our FC (fulfillment centers) in select markets to better prepare for the future needs of customers. This decision was not made lightly, and we’re working closely with affected associates to help them understand what career options may be available at other Walmart locations.”

Walmart issued one WARN letter for roughly 200 workers at its Pedricktown, N.J., facility. An unspecified number of workers located in e-commerce fulfillment centers in Fort Worth, Texas, Chino, Calif., Bethlehem, Penn., and Davenport, Fla., are also having their jobs eliminated as Walmart said it is reducing the number of evening and weekend shifts. Walmart said the number of job eliminations in the other plants were not large enough to require WARN letters.

The layoffs come as Walmart continues to fulfill more orders from its stores and the market fulfillment centers it has been building over the past 18 months. Walmart is also leaning heavier into automation pledging $15 billion in capital expenditures this year with most of that going toward increasing efficiency in supply chain and other operations.

This downsizing of several hundred workers comes on the heels of other retail layoffs. Walmart and Amazon ramped up supply chain hiring in 2021 amid the pandemic. In 2021, Walmart hired 20,000 workers within its supply chain division as online demand soared. Amazon hired 125,000 workers in late 2021 to also help with online orders. Amazon ramped up hiring again in late 2022, but recently announced 27,000 layoffs including 9,000 corporate jobs. Neiman Marcus cut 8% of its company workforce as consumer spending on goods continued to slow.

In late 2022, Walmart also eliminated 1,458 supply chain jobs in Atlanta as part of a plan to modernize warehouses that use more automation.

Despite the supply chain layoffs, Walmart reports on its own hiring site there are 1,562 open jobs at its U.S. distribution and fulfillment centers.