Walmart Cuts Jobs And Drops Prices, Does This Signal The Death Of Retail?

Walmart is cutting "hundreds" of jobs. The largest big box retailer in the United States is also about to offer discounts on online purchases for customers willing to come pick up their items at a brick-and-mortar store instead of having the goods shipped to their home.

Keeping up with Amazon appears to be quite a daunting challenge for a multitude of long-standing and previously successful chains. Sears, Kmart, and HHGregg are among the most recent nationwide retailers to close stores or shut their doors forever. As Yahoo Finance noted, big changes are happening not just at Walmart but throughout the retail world, in an attempt to compete with Amazon.

Macy's, JCPenney, Target, Payless, Tiffany jewelry stores, and Ralph Lauren have all reportedly faced similar financial obstacles when competing Amazon and other online shopping outlets.

Yesterday Walmart announced it would be cutting more jobs by the end of April. This cost-saving move comes amid plans to enhance the retailer's online, or e-commerce operations. The big box chain wants to improve its online shopping platform to regain the low-cost shopping advantage which made it one of the most lucrative and successful retailers in the United States, Reuters reports.

The hundreds of Walmart jobs cut will include positions at its Sam's Club warehouse stores as well, Reuters reports.

"As we said in January, to fuel our growth and our investments we have to manage our costs and our capital decisions with discipline," Walmart representative Randy Hargrove said. "This means we will continue to find ways to operate more efficiently and effectively."

Hargrove did not give any specific positions or an exact number of the Walmart jobs being cut. The company began cutting jobs last year. About 7,000 office positions were slashed and more workers were shifted to sales floor duties. Earlier in 2017, Walmart also cut 1,000 corporate positions, primarily from its human resources department.

Starting on April 19, Walmart will launch its "Pickup Discount: Lower prices" program. The program will include price slashes on about 10,000 store items, Fox News Business reports. To get the discount, customers can order online like they do at Amazon, but have to drive to a brick-and-mortar retail store to get their goods. By June, Walmart is planning on offering one million of its most popular items in the new online discount program, as well.

If a Walmart online shopper buys a VIZIO SmartCast TV from their website, the company offers the customer a $50 discount if they pick it up in a store instead of having it shipped. The larger the purchased item, the bigger the discount offered. By removing the delivery cost, in essence the middle man when it comes to online shopping, more money is saved for both parties.

This idea may only work if Walmart can beat Amazon's prices on the same items by a significant amount, to make up for the inconvenience of driving to a store to pick up the item -- and lifting it into your vehicle, if it will fit, yourself.

"When we leverage our fleet of more than 6,700 trucks to deliver products directly from fulfillment centers to our 4,700 stores, this means quite simply, it costs less for us to ship to stores. So, our customers should share in those savings," Walmart President and e-Commerce CEO, Marc Lore, said.

Walmart also recently launched a grocery shopping service which allows customers to pick up their items curbside, but the program is not yet widely available -- especially not in rural areas, where the store remains one of the largest, sometimes even the only, clothing and grocery store.

Last September Walmart purchased -- a solely online retailer and an Amazon direct competitor. By revenue, Walmart is the second-largest online retailer in America -- right behind Amazon.

Earlier this year Walmart launched a two-day shipping program, sans a membership fee, to better compete with Amazon, which charges an annual fee for the free two-day shipping included in its Prime membership program. Prime members also get free access to thousands of free music downloads and live-streaming of television shows and movies.

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