Both The Wall Street Journal (paid subscription) and Reuters are today reporting that global retailer Wal-Mart is planning a round of layoffs involving hundreds of workers at its Arkansas corporate headquarters later this week. According to both reports, fewer than 500 employees may be involved.  Wal_Mart Store

According to the WSJ, HR employees have reserved many meeting rooms at headquarters and some department directors were told to cancel travel this week to make sure that they were in the office.

Speculation of pending layoffs has reportedly been percolating for several weeks, fueled by local recruiters receiving resumes and others who live in the region.

This latest development adds more evidence that Wal-Mart needs to preserve its profit margins in the midst of longer-term initiatives directed at increased investments in online commerce and fulfillment capabilities, long awaited wage hikes for in-store employees and other strategic initiatives.

Supply Chain Matters has highlighted other recent efforts to reduce costs and maintain margins including added cost reduction pressures placed on suppliers and some push-back from larger, more influential suppliers.

With this reported action of internal layoffs, the retailer is demonstrating a seriousness of its profitability commitments.