Walmart said Wednesday that inflation will continue to pressure its business this year and slow its hiring pace, as it develops automation technology amid a tight labor market.
More than 56 percent of Walmart’s sales come from groceries, where inflation is the highest. According to the Department of Labor, food prices in the United States increased by 9.5 percent in February compared to the same period last year.
“We believe that, over time, the number of partners will grow, but at a slower pace than in the past, as we complement the growth of people with technology and automation,” said CFO John David Rainey in a statement. in Tampa, Florida.
According to a statement on Tuesday, the company expects that by the end of fiscal year 2026, about 65 percent of its stores will be automated and about 55 percent of packages in its processing centers will be transported through automated facility. average of approximately 20 percent. Although it does not consider many layoffs in the short term, except for more than two thousand to be made in five e-commerce warehouses in the United States, which it announced in recent days.
These moves come as Walmart increasingly uses its larger stores to handle deliveries of online orders and invests in automation to eliminate the time it takes to process orders at e-commerce processing facilities. .
When asked at the investor meeting about the inflation rate claimed by the corporation in its forecasts, Rainey said that he expects this year to be “a bit anomalous,” because the company is still feeling the effects of rising prices. However, he expects inflation to drop to three percent by the end of the year.