| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) is cutting 300 jobs at its headquarters in northwest Arkansas as Chief Executive Mike Duke scours the company for ways to cut costs and make the world's biggest retailer more efficient.
In a memo sent to employees, Duke said managers were asked to look for opportunities to eliminate duplication and reduce costs when deciding which jobs to cut. The jobs are mainly being eliminated in its corporate support divisions, like legal, finance, information systems and human resources.
Duke marked his one-year anniversary as the CEO of Wal-Mart on February 1. At the company's analyst meeting in October, Duke said he wanted to cut costs so Wal-Mart could lower prices, which in turn would help it retain customers and boost sales.
To that end, Wal-Mart last week announced a reorganization of its U.S. operations and said it would divide the country into three regions managed by separate presidents. It also announced plans in January to close 10 money-losing Sam's Club stores and cut 12,700 jobs in its warehouse club division.
A spokesman said the retailer did not expect to record any charges for the latest round of job cuts.
But Wal-Mart has said it will take a fourth-quarter charge of 4 cents per share related to the U.S. restructuring, and the job cuts and store closures at Sam's Club.
In his memo, Duke signaled the latest round of job cuts may be the last ones to be announced for a while.
"With this last major strategic piece in place, we are beginning our new fiscal year with every part of our business focused on being even more responsive to our customers," he stated.
Wal-Mart currently has 12,000 employees at its home office.
Wal-Mart shares rose 87 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $54.36 in early afternoon New York Stock Exchange trading.
(Reporting by Nicole Maestri; editing by Gunna Dickson and Gerald E. McCormick)