Walmart Closing 63 Sam’s Club Stores

Bentonville, Ark.–Walmart Inc. is the latest retailer to close stores, announcing last week it will shutter 63 Sam’s Clubs locations across the country, which accounts for about 10 percent of its total fleet.

After the move, the company will have 597 Sam’s Club locations.

According to a company spokesperson, a small number of the clubs closed last week and the remaining will close by Jan. 26.

The spokesperson said it’s still too early to know how many employees will be out of work as a result of the closures, as some might find jobs at other local Sam’s Clubs and Walmart stores.

Walmart also said in a statement it will “provide support and resources” to affected employees, including a bonus and 60 days of pay, as well as severance for those eligible.

Of the 63 stores closing, up to 12 will be converted to e-commerce fulfillment centers to help speed up the delivery of online orders.

The first of these converted e-commerce fulfillment centers will be located in Memphis, Tennessee.

Beyond that, the company is still working on identifying which shuttered stores will be converted so not many details are being released, including when conversions will be completed.

Walmart joins Macy’s and Sears in announcing store closings in the new year; Sears Holdings said Jan. 4 that it plans to close 103 more locations, while Macy’s is set to close 11 more stores in 2018 as part of a previously announced plan to trim its brick-and-mortar footprint by 100.

Walmart said it made the decision to close the stores after a “thorough performance review,” stating: “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.”

Sam’s Club stores have been posting flat or declining comps for the past few years but have seen their numbers improve recently. Walmart said Sam’s Club’s comps were up nearly 3 percent in the most recent quarter and total sales grew by 4 percent.

Sam’s Club accounts for about 12 percent of Walmart’s total global revenue.

Walmart Inc. ranks No. 2 on National Jeweler’s list of the biggest jewelry sellers in North America, with an estimated $3.10 billion in watch and jewelry sales in 2016. Sam’s Club stores are responsible for a large percentage of Walmart’s jewelry sales.

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