Walmart to force hundreds of employees to relocate


Like many other major companies, Walmart is asking its employees to come into the office more often. In an internal memo seen by the Wall Street Journal, Walmart chief technology officer Suresh Kumar said that the retail giant’s technology workers will be asked to work in-person at least two days a week.

But there’s an added catch. Kumar also announced that Walmart would be closing its offices in Austin,; Carlsbad, Calif. and Portland, Ore. Affected workers would either have to move closer to one of Walmart’s remaining primary offices, such as its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.—or leave the company. 

The memo reportedly said that the company would pay severance to those who chose to leave rather than relocate, and that it would cover the costs of those who decided to transfer. The company also has not set a timeline for the relocation, reports Reuters.

Walmart did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment, though the company told the Wall Street Journal that some relocated employees will be allowed to become full-time remote workers. 

Workers who decide to move to Walmart’s headquarters in Bentonville may be in for a rude surprise. The company has required most employees in its head office to work in-person five days a week since last year, according to the Wall Street Journal

Last year, Walmart announced that it would hire 5,000 more technology workers and open offices in Atlanta and Toronto. After the recently announced closures, the company will have 14 technology hubs remaining, primarily in the U.S., but also in Mexico, Costa Rica and India

In-office trend

Many large companies are starting to demand workers come into the office at least part of the week. Last November, Snap announced that it would ask its employees to come into the office at least 80% of the time, starting this February. In January, both Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Disney CEO Bob Iger asked employees to come into the office for most of the week.

Walmart cut around 200 corporate staff members last October, after warning that consumers were scaling back their spending due to inflation. But the company is also facing a tight labor market for hourly workers, and it raised its minimum hourly pay from $12 to $14 earlier this year. 

Walmart reported $158 billion in quarterly revenue in November 2022, a 3.9% year-on-year increase. At the time, the company warned of slower spending due to “persistent inflationary pressures in food and consumables.” The company is expected to report both current quarter and full-year earnings on Feb. 21.

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