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Walmart Cuts 1,458 Jobs at Atlanta Fulfillment Center

Walmart is laying off over 1,000 workers at an Atlanta fulfillment center, according to a new filing with the Georgia Department of Labor.

In a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) filed last week, the Arkansas-based big-box retailer said it would lay off 1,458 workers by Dec. 2 at the e-commerce fulfillment center located in Fulton Parkway in Atlanta, Georgia.

In a statement to Reuters, Walmart spokesperson Scott Pope confirmed that the retailer is converting the fulfillment center on Fulton Parkway to support its WFS (Walmart Fulfillment Services) business. “As part of the conversion, the facility’s infrastructure, operational resources, processes, staffing requirements and equipment are being adjusted to meet the building’s needs,” Pope said.

When reached for comment, Walmart directed FN to a recent blog post written by Karisa Sprague, SVP of fulfilment center operations for Walmart U.S., describing its plan for the new WFS business at the Atlanta facility. “This strategic move allows our third-party sellers to take even more advantage of our world-class supply chain capabilities for delivery to their customers,” Sprague wrote. “With the Atlanta WFS conversion, associates will be on the leading edge of technology and piloting a facility model that, when successful, will transform how we grow and manage our ‘best in class’ customer service offerings across multiple platforms.”

This new round of layoffs follows the August announcement from the big-box retailer that it would cut hundreds of corporate roles. Jimmy Carter, a Walmart spokesperson, said in a statement at the time that the company was updating its structure and “evolving select roles to provide clarity and better position the company for a strong future.”

That same month, Walmart announced it was cancelling orders to help it right-size inventory excesses. In a call with investors announcing results for the second quarter, Walmart CFO John Rainey said the company has “canceled billions in orders” to deal with inventory pileups that have amassed over the last few quarters.

Overall, Walmart beat expectations for earnings and revenues in Q2, after it slashed its outlook for the quarter. The company reported total revenue of $152.9 billion, up 8.4%, compared to estimates of $150.81 billion. Walmart U.S. comp-store sales were up 6.5% in Q2.

Last week, the retailer acquired Alert Innovation, a robotics company that will help the company automate its order fulfillment process. Walmart said it will use this technology across its 4,700 stores to help fulfill orders more quickly.

The acquisition is in line with Walmart’s goals to revamp its supply chain and introduce new high-tech fulfillment centers. In June, Walmart announced that it would build four new fulfillments centers over the next three years, which would each feature high-tech adjustments including robotics and machine learning. Walmart partnered with intelligent fulfillment solutions company Knapp to equip the centers with an automated storage system that streamlines the usually 12-step fulfillment process into just five steps.

The first of these centers opened in Joliet, Ill. last month.

In addition to advancements to its fulfillment centers, Walmart has announced ambitious hiring goals to staff its supply chains. In March, Walmart said it planned to hire more than 50,000 workers to staff its U.S. stores, offices and supply chain facilities in Q1. The company said that the average wage for supply chain associates is $20.37 per hour and its average U.S. hourly wage is $17 an hour.

And in September, Walmart announced a goal to hire 40,000 new associates — both seasonal and full-time — in roles across stores, delivery, customer service and truck driving. In April, Walmart rolled out a truck driver training program and said drivers can now make up to $110,000 in their first year with the company, with the chance to earn even more over time.

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