The retail industry has been significantly impacted by layoffs as companies rush to reduce costs amidst concerns of an impending recession and the effects of inflation. Several major retail companies have already announced job cuts, primarily affecting corporate employees. However, at the store level, many retailers are holding onto their workers, even seasonal employees, in a practice known as “labor hoarding.”
A survey conducted by ResumeBuilder found that 61% of business leaders say their organizations will likely have layoffs in 2023, with 57% estimating that 30% or more of their workforce will be laid off during the year. Additionally, 70% of companies are likely to implement a hiring freeze in 2023.
As of March 28, 2023, several retail companies have announced employee layoffs, impacting both corporate and store-level employees. These job cuts are a result of various factors, including labor challenges and inflation. Here is a list of some of the notable retailers that have announced layoffs in 2023 include J.Crew, Nordstrom, Walmart, Hudson’s Bay Company, Salesforce, Gopuff, Zulily, Bolt, Boohoo Group, REI, and Saks.
For instance, Amazon has announced additional job cuts, bringing the total number of layoffs in 2023 to 27,000. This is deeper than initially expected and follows major job cuts earlier in the year. Similarly, Walmart has cut hundreds of jobs at store and fulfillment centers, with 480 roles being cut due to store closures in Portland, Oregon.
Walmart has cut hundreds of jobs at store and fulfillment centers in recent weeks. Hundreds were laid off at e-commerce fulfillment centers across the country, while 480 roles were cut due to store closures in Portland, Oregon, according to documents filed with the state. The company is also closing three tech hubs in Texas, Oregon, and California and offering those employees the option to relocate to its Arkansas headquarters or accept a severance package.
Nordstrom is in the process of shuttering all its Canadian operations by late June, citing no realistic path to profitability, about 2,500 employees will be cut as a result.
J.Crew has recently laid off around 40 corporate employees, which is equivalent to less than 3% of its workforce, as reported by WWD.
GoPuff, a delivery startup laid off more than 100 employees, or about 2% of its workforce, as reported by Bloomberg. This marks Gopuff’s third round of layoffs in the last year.
Zulily, an online retailer cut an undisclosed number of its nearly 2,000 corporate employees in an effort to trim expenses, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal.
The tech industry has also experienced significant layoffs in 2023, with tens of thousands of tech workers losing their jobs. Major tech companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Zoom have driven these workforce reductions. Startups across all sectors, from crypto to enterprise SaaS, have also announced cuts.
These layoffs have primarily impacted corporate retail employees, with many retailers holding tighter to workers at the store level, even seasonal employees, in a practice economists call “labor hoarding.” However, over a dozen companies have already announced layoffs in 2023, affecting hundreds and sometimes thousands of employees. As the year progresses, it remains to be seen how these layoffs will continue to impact the retail industry and the overall economy.
Jeanel has 15 years of retail, marketing and brand management experience. She has started an ecommerce business in 2019, after working in corporate retail and real estate as a senior managing director and former consultant. She's traveled all over the world, speaks at world renowned trade shows and events, holds a Bachelor’s of Commerce (B.Comm) and a Certificate in Commercial Real Estate. You can connect with her on Linkedin.