Walmart to close three tech hubs, relocate staff By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Shopping trolley is seen in front of Walmart logo in this illustration, July 24, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo/File Photo

(Reuters) -Walmart Inc will close three of its U.S. technology hubs, asking hundreds of workers to relocate to keep their jobs, a company spokesperson told Reuters on Monday.

Nearly all technology employees across the company would be expected to work in their offices for at least two days a week, added Robert Munroe, Walmart (NYSE:)’s director of global communications.

The big-box retailer would close offices that housed technology staff in Austin, Texas, in Carlsbad, California and in Portland, Oregon, Munroe said. The operations would move to hubs including one in San Bruno, California or the company’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, he said, citing a memo sent last week by Walmart’s global technology head, Suresh Kumar.

“We have decided, looking at our location strategy, that we will exit those three hubs,” he said, adding that the combined employment at the three offices was in the hundreds.

“Everything is variable; there is no set date that (this transfer) must be completed,” he added. The company currently has 11 tech hubs in the U.S. and six abroad, according to its website.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the news.

Munroe said Walmart, which employs more than 1.3 million people in the United States, would pay transfer costs of workers who moved and make severance payments to those who decided to leave the company.

The directive on returning to the office follows similar requirements from several other U.S. companies, including Walt Disney (NYSE:) Co, Uber (NYSE:) and Starbucks (NASDAQ:). Last month, Disney boss Bob Iger told employees to return to corporate offices for four days a week starting in March, while Starbucks required corporate workers to return to do so at least three days a week starting in January.

“We believe the future in tech will be one in which working virtually will be the new normal, at least for most of the work we lead,” Kumar wrote two years ago.

Munroe said: “This (move) is still within line to that language.”

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