The retailer is eliminating three administrative jobs related to accounting and invoicing at each of 500 stores, mostly West of Colorado, in a test to see if those functions can be replaced by workers in the home office and machines.
The cuts, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, come as Walmart looks to shift more of its spending to employees who work on the store floor stocking shelves and interacting with customers. The company said at its annual shareholder meeting two weeks ago that customer satisfaction scores had risen 79 weeks in a row, a momentum it wants to continue. The retailer has enjoyed seven straight quarters of same-store sales gains, which rose 1% in the most recent quarter. At the same time, the company is looking to recover some of what it is spending on wage increases through cost cuts.
The jobs being eliminated, in a pilot that could be expanded to other stores, involve counting cash or managing invoices for suppliers. In this test, invoicing will be handled by a central office at company headquarters in Arkansas, while money will be counted at each store by a “cash recycler” machine, a spokesman told Fortune. He said the company expects fewer than 1% of the affected workers would leave the company.
The workers in question will be offered store positions.
Walmart, the largest private employer in the United States with 1.4 million workers, has spent $2.7 billion in the last two fiscal years on raising starting wages for hundreds of thousands of its workers. This winter it lifted its minimum wage to $10 an hour.