Walmart Stores Inc is currently spending over $1 million to raise the wages of employees and giving them more training, but at the same time has been cutting the amount of hours some work in an attempt to keeps its costs in line.
Regional executives have told managers of stores at the annual holiday planning meeting of the retailer this month they need to rein in their expenses by lowering their workers hours they have added beyond those that have been allocated based upon projections of sales.
That request resulted in some Walmart stores trimming hours off schedules, asking the employees to leave their shifts early or telling them to take more time off for lunch, according to over three dozen employees for different stores across the U.S.
The reductions started during the last several weeks even though many stores are entering their busy shopping period of back to school.
Doug McMillon the CEO, is attempting to balance a need to improve service, in part through increases in workforce spending, against the pressure by investors to keep profits growing.
Labor costs, which were up after Walmart raised its minimum wage to $9 per hour this past April, have weighed heavily on earnings, which did not meet Wall Street’s expectations in its most recent reporting period.
Walmart meanwhile is trying to maintain its low prices to keep rivals at bay.
The reduction in the number of hours is taking place just in locations where the managers have been over scheduling their workers or staffing their store for more time that they were allotted, said a spokesperson for the Arkansas based company.
The reductions will not affect any efforts to better staff locations, shorten lines at checkouts and improve the overall stocking and cleanliness of the stores.
Striking a right balance has proved challenging for the biggest retailer in the world, according to some accounts for employees.
One employee, who request anonymity, and is from the Houston, Texas area, said she did not have permission to talk but said her store cut over 200 hours a week from payrolls.