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Mass Automation To Sweep Across Walmart Stores By 2026


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Walmart, the largest private employer in the US, revealed on Tuesday plans to automate a large swath of its stores and warehouses within a three-year timeframe. This move aligns with the surge of artificial intelligence technologies being introduced into the economy to enhance efficiency; however, it also threatens to displace millions of jobs.

In a press release, the mega-retailer with more than 1.6 million US employees said:

By the end of Fiscal Year 2026, Walmart believes roughly 65% of stores will be serviced by automation, approximately 55% of the fulfillment center volume will move through automated facilities, and unit cost averages could improve by approximately 20%.

As Walmart’s stores and warehouses shift towards automation, the demand for human labor will drop. Nevertheless, the retailer noted that the reduction in the workforce could lead to increased wages for the remaining employees.

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 did not provide specifics about the potential workforce reduction through 2026 due to automation.

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