Walmart to close 3 tech hubs, asks staff to return to office

Feb 14, 2023, 2:19 PM | Updated: 2:23 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart is closing three tech hubs and asking hundreds of employees to relocate to keep their jobs.

The closures will affect staff working at locations in Austin, Texas; Carlsbad, California; and Portland, Oregon, Walmart spokesperson Mischa Dunton said Tuesday. Dunton declined to say how many employees will be affected.

The company said in a prepared statement that it hopes to relocate or allow remote-work for employees affected by the closures.

Dunton described the move as a “location strategy” and said decisions on where to move will be managed individually. Before the closures, the company operated 17 tech hubs worldwide — six of which were based abroad, according to its website.

Walmart is also cutting back on remote work and asking its tech teams to plan regular in-office work days. Dunton declined to say how many days tech staff will be required to be in the office. Other corporate staffers were asked to return to the office in late 2021.

“Our decision to be together more frequently anchors to Walmart’s fundamental belief that our people make the difference, our culture matters and we build stronger partnerships when we are physically together,” the company said.

Walmart is the largest employer in the country, with nearly 1.6 million workers in the U.S. Its technology teams employ 20,000 and grew rapidly during the pandemic.

In March of last year, the company, which is based in Bentonville, Arkansas, announced it would hire 5,000 more tech workers and add hubs in Atlanta and Toronto. It laid off 200 corporate staff in the summer after warning consumers had pulled back on discretionary purchases amid high inflation. Dunton said the cuts related to organizational changes.

The company said last month it would raise its hourly wages from $12 to $14, a move that will help it attract more front-line workers in a still-tight labor market.

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Walmart to close 3 tech hubs, asks staff to return to office