Wal-Mart to cut jobs at headquarters

World's largest retailer, citing 'unprecedented times,' says it will cut as many as 800 jobs across divisions.

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By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com senior writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Wal-Mart Stores announced Tuesday that it is eliminating as many as 800 positions at its headquarters in an effort to reduce costs.

Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), the world's largest retailer, said the cuts will affect about 700 to 800 jobs at its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark.

Wal-Mart is the nation's largest private sector employer with more than 1.4 million employees in the United States.

"As the new fiscal year begins, we find ourselves living in unprecedented times," Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke wrote in a memo to employees.

The company said the layoffs "will not impact store and club operations."

The positions being eliminated are in merchandising, real estate, marketing and support divisions in its Wal-Mart U.S. division and in Sam's Club merchandising unit, according to the memo.

"While the number of associates that will be impacted by the restructuring is very small compared to the 2.2 million associates we have worldwide, I can assure you that we will treat them with care and dignity and help support them during their transition, consistent with our basic beliefs and respect for the individual," Duke said.

Additionally, Duke said Wal-Mart will create new management jobs as part of the company's overall expansion plan and plans to "add thousands of jobs in our stores and clubs this year."

Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said some of the positions are not being eliminated but relocated.

"Last year we moved some of our apparel team to New York in order to be closer to our suppliers and our design partners. This year we're moving our apparel buying team there to better align the staffing of our apparel business," Tovar said.

Tovar also said that Wal-Mart currently has no plans to eliminate store level jobs. "We still plan to open between 125 and 140 new stores for which we plan to hire thousands of new associates," he said. To top of page

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