Walmart to axe up to 500 staff at HQ

US retailer Wal-Mart Stores is planning to lay off as many as 500 staff at its head office in a move to cut overheads.

The Arkansas-based hypermarket operator has a staff of about 18,000 in its head office, so if even 500 are laid off it is a small percentage.

However it is evidence of the company’s move to “streamline” its operations to increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve profitability at a time it is under increasing pressure from rival formats and online shopping.

CEO Doug McMillon famously told analysts in a briefing after a shareholders’ meeting in June: “There are no cash registers in the office.”

At the time of going to press there had been no formal confirmation of the layoffs which were tipped to take place as early as Friday.

Wal-Mart is under pressure to cut costs after agreeing to a $1 billion investment in wage increases for around 500,000 store staff. The company’s share price has fallen 26 per cent this year.

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