Walmart Inc (WMT) said this week it expected 65% of its stores to be serviced by automation by the end of fiscal year 2026.
The announcement came several days after the retail chain disclosed plans to lay off over 2,000 people at facilities fulfilling online orders.
Nearly 55% of packages processed through Walmart’s fulfillment centers are expected to be moved through automated facilities by January 2026. This would improve unit cost averages by almost 20%, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer said.
However, it still remains unclear if such a move would result in additional layoffs. According to the company, the move would reduce the need for lower-paid roles.
“As the changes are implemented across the business, one of the outcomes is roles that require less physical labor but have a higher rate of pay,” Walmart said in a filing.
“Over time, the company anticipates increased throughput per person, due to the automation while maintaining or even increasing its number of associates as new roles are created,” the company said.
The retail giant has about 1.7 million employees in the United States.
The shares of Walmart Inc (WMT) closed 0.98% ($1.46) lower at $147.23 in New York on Tuesday, while snapping a four-day streak of gains.
The company’s total market cap now stands at $396.882 billion.
The shares of Walmart Inc went down 2.00% in 2022, compared with a 19.44% loss for the benchmark index, S&P 500 (SPX).