Sam's Club, the warehouse club division of Walmart Stores, is cutting about 11,200 jobs as it outsources its in-store demonstrations.
The cuts represent about 10 percent of the warehouse club operator's 110,000 staffers across its 600 stores. There are 22 across North Carolina, including four in the Triangle in Raleigh, Morrisville and Durham.
Sam's spokeswoman Susan Koehler said none of this region's stores will close but that on average, the number of employees per store that were affected was 15 to 20. Nationwide, the cuts include 10,000 workers, mostly part-timers, who offer food samples and showcase products to customers. The company also eliminated 1,200 workers who recruit new members.
Employees were told the news at mandatory meetings on Sunday morning.
Shopper Events, based in Rogers, Ark., currently works with Walmart's namesake stores on in-store demonstrations. Sam's Club is looking to the company to improve sampling in areas such as electronics, personal wellness products and food items to entice shoppers to spend more.
Sam's Club has underperformed the Walmart chain in the U.S. and abroad.
"In the club channel, demo sampling events are a very important part of the experience," said Sam's Club CEO Brian Cornell in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "Shopper Events specializes in this area and they can take our sampling program to the next level."
Cornell took the helm at Sam's Club on April 3 last year and has been looking for ways to boost its sales and increase its membership ranks. Members pay an annual fee to shop in its clubs and get discounts on everything from bulk-sized packages of toilet paper to raspberries.
Brian Pear, general manager for Shopper Events, said his company would hire about the same number of employees being let go by Sam's Club. But he said there was no guarantee it would hire former Sam's Club employees to fill the positions.
Cornell and Pear declined to disclose terms of the deal.
The latest job cuts come after Sam's Club said earlier this month that 1,500 jobs would be lost as it closed 10 money-losing stores.
At Walmart's meeting for analysts in October, Cornell said that Sam's Club was shifting its focus from opening new clubs to remodeling existing ones as it works to increase sales.