Walmart will be laying off as many as 1,000 employees at its headquarters this year and in 2019.
Bloomberg reported news that between 400 and 500 jobs were cut this week in marketing, human resources, merchandising, real estate and other departments. Those employees have 60 days to find new positions.
The next round of layoffs, less than 500 positions, will happen next year, as some buildings are consolidated in anticipation of the company’s new corporate headquarters, which will be located about two miles away from its current location in Northwest Arkansas. The new HQ will take five to seven years to complete.
According to CEO Doug McMillon, these cutbacks should help Walmart better compete with Amazon. He explained that Walmart “is not where we want to be” as far as reducing expenses.
“We’ve been looking at our structure for some time as we explore ways to operate more effectively,” the company said in an emailed statement. “Those efforts continue. We’re committed to handling every transition smoothly and ensuring everyone is treated as fairly and respectfully as possible.”
Walmart is the biggest private U.S. employer, with 18,000 workers in its headquarters and 1.4 million nationwide. Earlier this month, it suddenly closed 63 Sam’s Club warehouses in several states, including in Arizona, Alaska, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana and New York.
However, former CEO Carter Cast believes that the closures are ultimately a good thing for the company.
“I think there are store closures ahead of Walmart that are going to be good for the company and good for shareholders,” he said.
And it hasn’t been all bad news for Walmart. The company also announced it’s raising entry-level wages for U.S. hourly employees to $11 an hour in February.
“We’re raising our starting wage for all hourly associates in the U.S., expanding benefits & offering a one-time bonus,” the retailer tweeted.
In addition, the company will be creating new roles focused on its online grocery business.