Dive Brief:

  • In a pullback from last year, Walmart on Wednesday said that it would hire 40,000 additional associates during the holiday season, according to a company announcement. 
  • The retailer will hire in a number of roles, including seasonal store associates; full-time, permanent truck drivers; and customer care associates. The retailer will offer additional hours to current associates. 
  • In a separate release, Walmart announced new and expanded “no concerns” return options and a holiday guarantee regarding an extended return window.

Dive Insight:

This years hiring plan is nearly a 75% drop from last years hiring of 150,000 seasonal associates.

In 2020, Walmart brought on 20,000 seasonal associates to staff its e-commerce fulfillment centers to fulfill online orders. That year the company hired 500,000 new workers to staff stores and supply chain facilities as consumers altered shopping behaviors during the height of the pandemic.

The announcement comes as inflation is currently changing shopping for a large portion of consumers. Seventy-nine percent of consumers are searching for discounts, while 77% have cut back on shopping, according to a recent survey by Morning Consult, which warned retailers that consumers are pulling back on discretionary spend this holiday to focus on essentials.

Walmart’s approach in order to win the holiday season is to provide deeper savings to shoppers.

The company on Thursday said that it is making “significant price investments in key categories” so shoppers can make purchasing decisions with savings in mind.

“Saving our customers time and money is in our DNA, and I am proud of how we’ve innovated to offer exactly what our customers need this holiday — deeper savings across a broader assortment of gifts with a seamless omnichannel shopping experience,” Tom Ward, executive vice president and chief e-commerce officer of Walmart U.S., said in a statement.

Walmart is also offering a holiday guarantee, which allows customers to shop for gifts early with an expanded return window. Eligible purchases made on or after Oct. 1 can now be returned through Jan. 31.

Additionally, in select stores, Walmart+ members will have the option of having returns picked up from their homes. Members do not need to provide a box or a label, but can hand off the return to a delivery driver. All customers can participate in curbside returns, which allows them to hand over unwanted purchases from their vehicles.

The retailer also stressed that it has “been preparing for months” to ensure that it has products available for the holiday season, and has worked with partners in its supply chain “to ensure a seamless flow of merchandise.” 

The company in recent months has had difficulty unloading apparel inventory, which forced higher markdowns. 

“The increasing levels of food and fuel inflation are affecting how customers spend, and while we’ve made good progress clearing hardline categories, apparel in Walmart U.S. is requiring more markdown dollars,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement regarding the company’s second quarter earnings report.



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