In two separate announcements on Jan. 11, Walmart said it’s unit Sam’s Club would close 63 stores, resulting in thousands of workers losing their jobs. The decision comes after a store performance review. After the action is announced, the company will have 597 clubs.
A Walmart press statement said 12 of the impacted stores will be reopened as e-commerce distribution centers, the first one being located in Memphis, Tennessee. The rest of the stores will permanently shut down after remaining open for several weeks. Employees of the 12 stores will have the opportunity to reapply for positions at those locations.
“Transforming our business means managing our real estate portfolio and Walmart needs a strong fleet of Sam’s Clubs that are fit for the future,” said John Furner, president and CEO of Sam’s Club. “We know this is difficult news for our associates, and we are working to place as many of them as possible at nearby locations. Our focus today has been on those associates and their communities, and communicating with them,” Furner added.
Hours earlier, the company announced a wage hike, saying it would raise entry-level wages to $11 an hour – a fallout of last month’s corporate tax cut. Walmart will also offer a one-time cash bonus, based on length of service, of up to $1,000, and expand maternity and parental leave benefits.