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Report: Walmart to shutter three tech hubs

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Walmart is reducing its technology infrastructure.

Walmart is reportedly scaling back its network of global technology hubs.

According to Bloomberg, the discount giant is closing down technology hubs located in Austin, Texas; Portland, Ore.; and Carlsbad, Calif. Following up on an original report in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg said that Walmart global CTO Suresh Kumar announced plans to reduce its technology infrastructure in a corporate memo issued the week of Feb. 6.

In March 2022, the Walmart Global Tech division said it would add new hubs in Toronto and Atlanta, and also planned to hire more than 5,000 technology associates globally during fiscal 2022. It is unclear whether the decision to close these three centers will affect Walmart plans to open the Toronto and Atlanta hubs or hire new personnel.

As of March 2022, Walmart employed about 20,000 technology workers. The company is offering employees affected by the closures to relocate to work at other hubs, with a new policy of working in the office at least two days a week after a fully remote option was provided during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employees who choose not to relocate will receive a severance package, although some may still be given special permission for remote work. Global Tech had been Walmart’s fastest-growing corporate team. The division develops and manages technologies including cloud, data, enterprise architecture, developmental operations, infrastructure and security; as well as provides enterprise services to other Walmart employees.

After the closures, Walmart will operate eight technology hubs inside the U.S., including in San Bruno, Calif., Seattle, Northwest Arkansas, and Dallas; as well as six outside the U.S.

“We’ve made the decision to focus our tech team’s presence within select locations,” a Walmart representative said in a statement to Bloomberg. “We hope to relocate or allow for remote work for all affected associates.” 

Read more from Bloomberg here.

Based in Bentonville, Ark., Walmart operates more than 10,500 stores and clubs under 46 banners in 24 countries and e-commerce websites.

Amazon scales back tech organization

Chief Walmart rival Amazon is also reducing the size of its technology investment. In November 2022, Amazon publicly announced it has decided to “consolidate” some teams and programs in the devices and services organization (responsible for product lines such as Amazon Echo and Kindle devices).

The company also announced a voluntary reduction offer for some employees in its People, Experience, and Technology (PXT) organization. As a result, Amazon said an unspecified number of jobs are being eliminated.

Earlier in January 2023, Amazon said it plans to eliminate just over 18,000 roles in 2023, with the majority of eliminations in its Amazon Stores and PXT organizations. These job cuts followed a recently announced hiatus in corporate hiring.

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