Walmart India is in the process of sacking more than 50 of their employees based at the Gurugram headquarters. The layoffs also include eight top executives including vice presidents across divisions such as sourcing, agri-business and the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG).
According to reports, Walmart India plans to shut the Mumbai fulfilment centre, which is its largest warehouse in India. It will also halt all new-store expansions in the country. The real estate team that is responsible for new store locations has also been disbanded.
Most of the layoffs announced at a townhall on Friday are from the company's real estate vertical. The company is focussing on its B2B e-commerce segment, which is likely making the real estate segment roles redundant. "Walmart remains committed to growing its B2B Cash & Carry business in India. We opened 6 new Best Price modern wholesale stores, one Fulfilment Center and our sales grew 22 per cent in 2019," said Krish Iyer, President & CEO, Walmart India.
The move has come as Walmart India is faced with slow sales and elusive profits, even a decade after its entry into the Indian market. Walmart had partnered with Bharti Group in 2007 for the wholesale business. It finally bought Bharti's 50 per cent stake in 2013 to go solo.
Walmart India said that the company has laid off 56 employees, out of which eight are in senior management and 48 are in middle to low management. The company said that it is looking to operate more efficiently, which is why they are required to review their corporate structure. "We are also looking for ways to operate more efficiently, which requires us to review our corporate structure to ensure that we are organized in the right way. As part of this review, we have let go 56 of our associates across levels at the corporate office. All of the 56 impacted associates (8 in the senior management and 48 in the middleor lower management) have been offered enhanced severance benefits and outplacement services to support their transition. A report appearing in the section of the Press speculating second round of layoffs in April is baseless and incorrect," said Iyer.
"We have recently made significant investments to serve our members better and will continue to do so. This includes investments in our brick and mortar stores as well as e-commerce. Our members are increasingly becoming omni-channel shoppers. We are thus investing heavily in technology and have a healthy pipeline of Best Price stores. This will provide our members a true omni-channel and convenient shopping experience in the future," said Iyer. As per reports, Walmart India might end up selling it or consolidating operations with Flipkart's backend. Walmart bought Flipkart in 2018.