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Walmart cutting 1,500 back-office jobs — but associates not being laid off


Walmart is trimming administrative positions in some 500 stores in the West.

According to multiple media reports, the discount giant will cut three backroom accounting and invoicing positions at each store, for a total of 1,500 jobs. Affected employees will not be laid off, but instead offered front-of-store roles such as pharmacy technician or assisting pickups of online orders. Invoicing tasks will be shifted to corporate headquarters in Arkansas, while accounting functions will be automated.

Walmart spokesperson Kory Lunberg told CNBC that the idea behind the program is to "make the stores easier to run and free up associates so that they can interact with customers more and serve them better." Accounting offices will use "cash recycler" machines to improve the efficiency and accuracy of counting money, while a centralized team will handle invoicing, Lunberg said.

In an initial pilot program the chain conducted at 50 stores, fewer than 1% of workers who had their roles changed left the company, CNBC reported.

The move is part of a broader strategy Walmart has been enacting to spend a higher percentage of its store labor costs on positions that directly interact with customers. Walmart recently reported 79 consecutive weeks of increasing customer satisfaction scores, as well as seven straight quarters of rising same-store sales. The company has also been trying to reduce costs as it increases its minimum wage for store associates.

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