Walmart, the American multinational retail company, is expected to lay off about 40 per cent of its senior pharmacists and also some new recruits and part-time employees.
This move is part of Walmart’s attempt to cut costs while trying to expand its business in other areas. Walmart has pharmacies in almost all its 4700 outlets in the US. In fact, at least 11 per cent of its revenue in the US comes from the health and wellness space.
However, there has been no increase in this percentage for four consecutive years now, which has driven Walmart to take drastic measures.
The Company hired a new chief for the business in 2018 and has provided over 2.5 million free health screenings in the last five years, as part of its endeavour to understand the ailments its consumers suffer from. The pharmacy areas of its outlets have now got bigger waiting areas and an automated kiosk for customers for times when the counters are closed.
These improvements are all part of its strategy to offer low-cost health and wellness services.
Walmart shares were down about 0.6 per cent last week. Digitisation and competition have affected many drug retailers. While Walmart is cutting costs by eliminating jobs, Walgreens Boots Alliance is shutting down 750 stores in the US. Rite Aid Corp is also expected to cut approx. 400 jobs.