Wal-Mart restructures U.S. operations to speed change

FILE PHOTO: A family shops at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Springdale, Arkansas June 4, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc WMT.N is restructuring its U.S. store operations and will consolidate its business divisions from six to four, the company said on Tuesday.

“Our last field restructure was several years ago and our business has changed over that time,” the company said in a statement. “The structure we are putting in place will help improve communication and execution, streamline decision-making and help us accelerate our pace of change.”

Wal-Mart’s divisions are currently structured across the West, South East, South Central, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, a source familiar with the matter, who did not wish to be identified said. The new divisions will take on a “different look”, the source said without giving details.

As part of the restructuring, Wal-Mart will have 36 regional managers instead of 44. The retailer expects to finish the restructuring by October, the source said.

“We had a similar structure in place three years ago and we are going back to that,” the source said.

The company has been consolidating functions since the start of the year. In February, Reuters reported the company would consolidate its buying operations to better fight Inc AMZN.O and the retailer's buying team based at Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters will place combined store and web orders with suppliers who sell on both platforms.

It also reorganized its food leadership teams in July in an effort to compete better with grocery rivals.

Reporting by Nandita Bose in Chicago; Editing by Andrew Hay