(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc <WMT.N> plans to cut hundreds of jobs before the end of January, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.
The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer plans to eliminate jobs at its headquarters and regional personnel that support stores, according to the report.
Many of the eliminations will affect Wal-Mart's human resources department, a large team that some senior executives believe should be more efficient or whose duties could be handled by outside consultants, the newspaper reported.
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Other departments could be affected as well, the report said.
"While we continually look at our corporate structure, we have not made any announcements," Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove said in an email.
The company said in September it would cut about 7,000 back-office jobs, mostly in accounting and invoicing positions at its U.S. stores, as part of a program it announced in June.
The job cuts followed the company's plans to invest $2.7 billion in programs that involve training its workforce and a series of wage hikes that took the minimum hourly pay for store workers to $10, part of efforts to improve service at stores and boost sales.
The company has also been investing to increase e-commerce sales and improve stores. These measures helped the company report strong online sales growth and a smaller-than-expected decline in earnings for the third quarter despite comparable store sales coming in below estimates.
Wal-Mart's shares were down marginally at $68.48 in afternoon trading.
(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru: Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Maju Samuel)