Walmart Store Inc.'s (WMT) store of the future may appear to be scarily devoid of employees. In reality, humans will still work there, but expect to see more robots.

In addition to Walmart starting to use 16-foot automated towers to distribute online orders, scan-and-go technology to replace cashiers and digital screens to answer customers' questions, it may eventually deploy robots to handle inventory.

"One thing is for sure, employees will be in different roles," Greg Foran, president and CEO of Walmart, said in response to a question posed by TheStreet on Thursday, Aug. 17 during a media call. "Do I want to have a situation where in every Supercenter I've got a team of associates out in the back of the store unloading a truck? No."

Still, Foran said the big-box retailer is working to sustain its employees' jobs as best it can.

Enter, Walmart Academy, where 1 million of the company's employees will eventually be taught fundamental retail skills that go beyond stocking shelves and customer service, such as which items turn a profit and why.

A Walmart employee at its training academy.
A Walmart employee at its training academy.

So, will there be fewer employees? Foran said "it will depend" on consumers and how their shifting needs shape the future of retail. That is why Walmart's "academies are so important to us," he said, as they will help to create new jobs.

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