Industry chatter swirling around the Walmart home office has a layoff coming. President Cameron Smith of recruiting firm Cameron Smith and Associates told KNWA/Fox 24, he has heard from insiders that 1,000 employees are expected to lose their jobs, including 200 Walmart V.P.s. He says he has already begun to ready his staff for a flood of calls.
Walmart would not respond to our multiple requests for comment.
University of Arkansas Economist Kathy Deck says the signs are there: “We’ve been kind of getting hints for awhile that they are trying to optimize things and unfortunately when a business talks about optimization it often does mean a layoff.”
While potential layoffs could have a significant impact to those directly affected, Deck says Northwest Arkansas will press on as it did after similar layoffs in 2009.
“Our economy worked its way through that and it can work through something of a similar size and scope at this point,” Deck said.
Deck says the potential layoffs come at a time when Walmart is navigating new formats and the online world and does not believe wage hikes announced earlier this year have any correlation.
“Walmart is in a very challenging retail environment right now,” said Deck.
Deck also says with a company as big as Walmart, realignments come with the territory: “We need Walmart to be strong in order for Northwest Arkansas be strong over the long run.”