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Walmart lays off almost 1,500 workers at Atlanta facility

Center will be converted to support Walmart Fulfillment Services

Walmart is converting the Atlanta facility into a center to support its Walmart Fulfillment Services (Photo: Shutterstock)

At the same time it searches for tens of thousands of seasonal workers in preparation for peak season, the world’s largest retailer is letting go of about 1,500 dedicated associates.

Walmart (NYSE: WMT) plans to lay off 1,458 employees at its fulfillment center outside of Atlanta as it converts the facility into a dedicated hub for Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS), its growing supply chain business.

A Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) issued last week revealed that the nearly 1,500 workers will be released by Dec. 2. Companies with over 100 employees are required to file a WARN about two months in advance of plant closings or mass layoffs.

Walmart confirmed the layoffs to Reuters, adding that employees at the Atlanta facility were notified in late August they would be let go.

“We’re converting the fulfillment center on Fulton Parkway to support our growing WFS business,” said Scott Pope, a spokesperson for Walmart. “As part of the conversion, the facility’s infrastructure, operational resources, processes, staffing requirements and equipment are being adjusted to meet the building’s needs.”

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Pope added that some employees have been rehired at other Walmart stores and warehouses, while others are “being assisted with paid job searches.”

In response to a request for additional information on the reason behind the layoffs, a Walmart spokesperson referred Modern Shipper to a blog post detailing the facility’s conversion, which is slated to be completed by early fall. The post makes no mention of layoffs.

Instead, it touts the growth of the retailer’s WFS business and explains the need for more centers to support it. The Atlanta fulfillment center, which was built in 2015 to fulfill orders from, will now be dedicated solely to fulfilling marketplace orders, Walmart said.

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The move mirrors the strategy adopted by Amazon, which uses tech-enabled facilities across the country to fulfill orders on its marketplace.

Walmart has begun introducing its own tech to its warehouses in recent months. In May, the retailer announced that it would bring robots from Symbotic to all 42 of its regional distribution centers. A month later, it purchased an 11% stake in the AI company. 

And just last week, it acquired automated grocery fulfillment firm Alert Innovation, which it has worked with since 2019. Alert’s Alphabot fulfillment system, which uses autonomous robotic carts, is currently operating in four Walmart facilities.

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Jack Daleo

Jack is a staff writer for FreightWaves and Modern Shipper covering topics like last mile delivery and e-commerce fulfillment. He studied at Northwestern University, majoring in journalism with a certificate in integrated marketing communications. Previously, Jack has written for Backpacker Magazine and enjoys travel, the outdoors, and all things basketball.