Walmart Shutting Down 3 U.S. Technology Hubs

Retailer tells hundreds of staff they must relocate to keep their jobs
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Walmart Suresh Kumar
A memo from Walmart Global Chief Technology Officer Suresh Kumar has revealed plans to close three of its U.S. technology hubs and require hundreds of workers to relocate to keep their jobs.

Shortly after revealing a spate of store closures, Walmart Inc. is now reportedly shutting down three of its U.S. technology hubs. According to a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the retail giant is requiring hundreds of workers to relocate to keep their jobs.

Walmart will close offices in Austin, Texas; Portland, Ore.; and Carlsbad, Calif., according to a memo to staff last week from Suresh Kumar, the companys global chief technology officer.

WSJ reported that Walmart will pay for workers in those locations to transfer to other primary offices, such as San Bruno, Calif., or the company’s headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. Walmart hopes to relocate most of the workers, and some will be allowed to become full-time remote workers, a spokeswoman said. Those who leave will be given severance pay.

“We’ve made the decision to focus our tech team’s presence within select locations,” said the spokeswoman. The company currently has 11 tech hubs in the United States and six abroad, according to its website.

Just last year, Kumar revealed plans to accelerate the expansion of Walmart Global Tech hubs with new facilities in Toronto and Atlanta. Walmart Global Tech develops and manages the foundational technologies on which customer experiences are built, including cloud, data, enterprise architecture, DevOps, infrastructure and security. 

A slew of layoffs has recently hit the technology sector hard, however. Dell and Yahoo are the latest companies to reveal sweeping layoffs. Then there’s Walmart competitor Amazon, which disclosed at the start of the new year that it was eliminating more than 18,000 roles, the majority in Amazon Stores and in its People, Experience and Technology (PXT) organizations. In addition to an uncertain economy, CEO Andy Jassy said that the other contributing factor in the layoffs was the rapid hiring that Amazon conducted over the past several years to meet increased demand during the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, Kumar’s recent memo also indicated that most of Walmart’s technology workers will be required to come into the office at least two days a week. This move back to in-person working environments has recently been implemented at other big U.S. companies such as Uber and Starbucks.  

In other Walmart news, the retail behemoth revealed that it was shuttering stores in the Illinois suburbs of Homewood and Plainfield and closing another pickup-only site in Lincolnwood. The retailer is also preparing to cease store operations at a site on Silver Spring Drive in Milwaukee and is closing one store in southeast Albuquerque, N.M., as well as a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Pinellas Park, Fla., near Tampa.

Walmart will hold a live conference call with the investment community on Feb. 21 to discuss the company’s fourth-quarter earnings results for its fiscal year 2023.

Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America

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