In its largest wave of job cuts in four years, Wal-Mart Stores Inc announced Friday that it would be cutting 2 percent (2,300 jobs) of its workforce at its Sam's Club retail warehouse chain; Sam’s Club has an estimated 116,000 U.S. employees with 600 locations nationwide.
The layoffs are a reaction to compete with big name rivals like members-only warehouse club Costco and online competitors like Amazon.com’s Prime membership service, Wall Street Journal first reported on Friday.
According to Bill Durling, head of corporate communications for Sam’s Club, less than half of those being laid off are assistant managers with the remaining being hourly workers. Prior to the announced cuts, Sam’s Clubs’ fresh sections – segments of the store that sell produce, dairy, seafood, poultry, meat and baked goods – had six managers. Half of those jobs will be cut with the remaining three fresh section managers’ wages increased, Durling said.
"This is not the type of situation where we are showing people the door and handing people a check.” Durling said.
"Everyone who is impacted today gets paid for 60 days and [we are] encouraging our associates to look for other opportunities at other Sam's Club or Wal-Mart."
Durling mentioned that after 60 days, if affected employees aren’t able to find a job, they would be eligible for a severance pay.
Sam’s Club isn’t the only major retailer announcing job cuts this year.
Macy’s said earlier this month it plans to cut 2,500 jobs, or, 1.4 percent of its U.S. workforce, despite expecting new positions for its online store.
J.C. Penney also chimed in with grim news last week about closing 33 stores and eliminating 2,000 jobs in order to return to profitability.
Target said it eliminated 700 vacant positions worldwide over the last six months and will lay off 475 workers at its headquarters and other offices in Minnesota.
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