Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. on Wednesday said that it is cutting accounting and other back-office jobs at about 500 stores in the U.S. The move is part of the retailer’s efforts to become more efficient and improve customer service to boost sales. The affected stores are located on the West Coast, The Wall Street Journal reported. Two or three employees will be affected per store, totaling as many as 1,500 workers, according to Wal-Mart spokesman Kory Lundberg. Wal-Mart is facing tough competition from Amazon.com, Inc. .
Wal-Mart plans to move accounting and invoicing jobs to its home office in Bentonville, Ark. The company will use cash recycler machines to automatically count money at the stores. The affected workers will be offered other jobs that involve direct contact with shoppers. They could get jobs in the online pick up department or in pharmacy. They aren’t guaranteed the same hourly wage. They will still make $17.55 an hour, Lundberg said, noting that this program was tested in 50 stores and only 1% of the affected workers left the company, WJHL reported.
Wal-Mart has about 1.4 million workers at its more than 4,500 namesake stores in the U.S. Earlier this year, the company announced that it was shuttering 154 stores in the U.S.
Walmart Pay in Mississippi
In other news, Wal-Mart announced that it introduced Walmart Pay in Mississippi. Using Walmart Pay, customers can make payments with their smartphones in Walmart stores.
“Built with the goal of improving how customers check out and dramatically expanding mobile payment access, Walmart Pay is like no other mobile payments solution available today. With this launch, Walmart becomes the only retailer to offer its own payment solution that works with any iOS or Android device, at any checkout lane, and with any major credit, debit, pre-paid or Walmart gift card – all through the Walmart mobile app,” the company said in a statement.
The company claims that more than 20 million customers actively use the Walmart app each month.
Wal-Mart Re-Imagining Its Future
At the 46th annual shareholders meeting, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. President and CEO Doug McMillon urged the company’s associates and shareholders to reimagine retail again. McMillon called on the company’s 2.3 million associates to write the next chapter in Walmart’s story. The world’s largest retailer plans to expand its online presence, and focus on improved online shopping system, fast delivery service, and user-friendly apps and website. “We have the opportunity to reimagine retail again,” McMillon said.
Wal-Mart is testing grocery home delivery service with ride-sharing services Uber, Lyft and Deliv. The tests are expected to begin within the next two weeks in Denver and Phoenix. Additionally, the retailer is testing drones to manage inventory at its large warehouses, in a bid to compete with Amazon. The retailer plans to use flying machines to handle inventory at its warehouses in the future.
The company plans to focus on improving the digital shopping experience. The retailer has made progress online this year. The company’s website, Walmart.com, had 87 million unique visitors in April, the second most-visited online site after Amazon.
Shares of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. have gained 15.3% year-to-date. The company has a market cap of nearly $223 billion.