Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) was supposed to be a winner in the economic slide as the “trade down” shopping destination. It goes without saying that Wal-Mart has more than a few critics. Now it looks like it will get a few more employee relations problems. The reason: LAYOFFS.
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette has reported that Wal-Mart has started layoffs to to the tune of 700 to 800 jobs in the Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters. The paper reports that the cuts are coming in merchandising, real estate, marketing, support, and some corporate functions. It also notes that it plans to move more employees to New York for its apparel operations.
700 or 800 may not sound like much for the size of the company. But this is out of 14,000 that work at the HQ. Out of some 2 million workers, any additional pressure on spending may only bring more cuts. That might only bring on more labor problems. That would be our guess any how as the company is under new management and has been cutting its new store openings.
This truly is worse for the economy than a zero-sum game if Wal-Mart has to start laying people off. That new “Save Money. Live Better.” slogan may have to change to “Make Less. Spend Less.”
Jon C. Ogg
February 10, 2009