Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is laying off 2,300 employees in its Sam's Club division as it tries to make its workforce leaner.
In total, 2% of the 116,000 Sam's Club employees in the U.S. will lose their jobs. Employees were being informed of the layoffs Friday, spokesman Bill Durling said.
Sam's Club, a membership-based warehouse chain in the mold of Costco, said nearly half the cuts will affect salaried assistant managers. In the fresh goods area, where previously there were six separate assistant managers, now three more senior and better-paid managers are to oversee a meat and deli block, a grocery and produce section and a bakery and cafe segment.
"We're rightsizing the number of managers per club, aligning it more appropriately to the revenue of the club," Durling said.
The rest of the layoffs will hit hourly employees, such as some telephone attendants who will lose their jobs to automation.
All affected workers will get their regular salary for 60 days, Durling said. Those unable to find other positions within the Wal-Mart family of businesses will be eligible for severance payments.
Durling said that each Sam's Club store had roughly the same number of employees, regardless of how well the unit performed.
"It made things easier to manage, and there was a consistency, but we realized it was holding back some of our clubs that didn't have enough resources and others that had too many resources," Durling said. "We're trying to rebalance our resources to set ourselves up to grow more in the future."
Sam's Club pulled in $14.1 billion in sales during its third quarter, which ended Oct. 25. That was more than 12% of the $114.9 billion attributed to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as a whole.
Traffic to Sam's Club stores open at least a year rose 2.4% compared with the same quarter in 2012, but the amount spent per visit declined 1.3%.
Sam's Club said it still on track to open 15 new clubs this year, adding to its current total of 630.
The layoffs follow a string of announcements from other retailers trimming head counts after a lukewarm holiday season. Macy's said it would cut 2,500 employees from its U.S. workforce; J.C. Penney indicated that it would close 33 stores and remove 2,000 positions.