November 18, 2014 4:55 pm
Updated: November 19, 2014 9:55 am

Walmart Canada lays off 210 employees to trim costs

Walmart Canada has seen falling traffic to stores.


Walmart Canada has laid off 210 employees, the company said Tuesday, as it looks to trim costs as traffic falls to its domestic department stores.

A Walmart spokesman said the positions were eliminated from its Mississauga, Ont. head offices as well as field management positions across the country. Store operations weren’t affected.

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“The changes are designed to create a more efficient organizational structure as the company positions itself competitively for the future,” Andrew Pelletier, Walmart Canada’s vice-president of corporate affairs, said.

The move follows the elimination of 700 or so store-manager jobs in May, though Pelletier said Walmart will exit the year having created more jobs than the company has eliminated.

Walmart has added several new locations across the country this year while converting 3o or so locations in “Supercentres” which require additional staff to operate food aisles and inventory.

MORE: Walmart Canada turns focus to grinding down grocery prices

Walmart employs about 94,000 employees across the country. Still, the layoffs – made five weeks before Christmas – underscore Walmart’s relentless push to keep costs down in order to pass those savings onto shoppers.

low-cost commitment

Last month, the company’s top management reiterated Walmart’s aim to be the lowest cost player in every country it operates in, including Canada.

Walmart’s “purpose,” David Cheesewright, the head executive of Walmart’s international division, said, “is to save people money.”

‘Walmart’s purpose is to save people money’

Shelley Broader, the former head of Walmart Canada and new leader of operations in Europe, Canada, the Middle East and Africa said the arrival of main U.S. rival Target in Canada last year has inaugurated a “hyper competitive phase.”

MORE: Here’s who’s really winning Canada’s grocery wars

Alongside axing higher paid employees, Walmart continues to make “price investments,” a term used to describe cutting prices in order to drive more traffic through the door and lift overall sales.

“The price gap in Canada is stronger than ever,” Broader said.

Walmart Canada reported last week a decline of 1.4 per cent in traffic to its 395 Canadian stores.

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