Wal-Mart to restructure China management

SHANGHAI (AFP) – Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, said Wednesday 15 April it is restructuring its management in China, in measures that could lead to staff cuts.

Photo : Robyn Beck/AFP

"We are slashing one layer of mid-level executives off the five-layer executive structure established when we entered China 13 years ago," Chen Lu, a Shenzhen-based Wal-Mart spokeswoman told AFP.

Chen declined to say how many staff will be affected, saying only that "the restructuring is necessary to adapt to the changeable market situation".

Wal-Mart entered China in 1996 and employs more than 50,000 people in the country.

Under the restructuring plan, affected employees would be encouraged to move to other locations and those who choose not to could face demotion or dismissal, Chen said.

The US discount titan's global net income fell to 3.79 billion dollars in the three months ended January 31, a 7.7 percent drop from 4.01 billion dollars a year earlier. It did not release China-specific figures.

Retailers in China are beginning to feel the pinch of the global downturn.

Sales growth weakened in the first two months of this year to 15.2 percent, compared with 21.6 percent for all of 2008 as consumers continue to lack confidence to spend, according to the latest official data.

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