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The Wall Street Journal reports that as part of its broader effort to cut corporate employees throughout the company, Walmart "plans to lay off about 200 e-commerce employees in its California offices ... Tuesday’s cuts are intended to shift the retailer’s e-commerce staff toward more shopper-facing roles, said spokesman Dan Toporek."

Marc Lore, who now is running e-commerce for Walmart, sent a memo to the staff in which he wrote that the company is “focused on adding the right talent to our team and making sure we’re investing in ways that directly improve our customer experience."

Lore's memo went on: “As difficult as this decision is, I know it’s the right one. We have a clear strategy. We’ve structured the team for speed and simplicity ... We’re building an organization with the right talent and experience. We’ve created an environment where the best minds across our many locations can team up and drive great ideas forward. And while some roles are going away today, we’ll be investing in our business and adding new skill sets during the year.”

The Journal goes on to report that Walmart "is investing billions to boost e-commerce sales, including buying Mr. Lore’s company Jet.com Inc. for $3.3 billion last year, putting pressure on operating costs broadly across the company ... Mr. Lore, whose Jet.com is run from Hoboken, N.J., has moved quickly to reorganize the retailer’s e-commerce operations, which are run out of offices in San Bruno, Calif. Earlier this month, Wal-Mart shuffled its e-commerce and technology leadership ranks, giving several top executives responsibility for both online and in-store operations while announcing others would leave the company."

The layoffs apparently are not limited to California. In Oregon, the Portland Business Journal reports that "The Portland office of Walmart Labs is losing eight of its 29 positions as part of the broader restructuring of the retail giant’s e-commerce business."
KC's View:
If these cuts are being made with effectiveness in mind, and Walmart is simply moving the pieces around in order to serve the customer better, then this strikes me as a good thing. Marc Lore must be enjoying the fact that he now has an enormous, well-stocked, well-funded playground in which he can take the battle to Amazon.

I've always said, though, that I'll believe Walmart is serious about e-commerce as long as it keeps its Walmart Labs operations going on the west coast. If they move them to Bentonville, I'll suddenly get a lot more skeptical.