In a surprising announcement today, Walmart confirmed to Business Insider and Social Media inquiries that it is closing 63 Sam’s Club stores and laying off thousands of workers.
The company operated 660 stores in 47 states before the closings. This is about a 10 percent reduction in location closings for the warehouse club chain.
News started to filter out on social media when shoppers arrived at stores to find them closed. According to Jason Miles at KHOU in Houston, apparently, workers were not given any warning about the closings at those stores.
.. #SamsClub update: three Houston area closures include S Loop W, Westheimer & Eldridge, and New Caney store. Only other Texas store affected is in SATX. Walmart spokesperson tells me laid off associates will be paid for 60 days and can apply for transfers #khou11 pic.twitter.com/CRouJDdIsl
— Jason Miles (@JMilesKHOU) January 11, 2018
Jason Miles also received a direct note from Sam’s Club on his twitter account that he posted on his timeline as an image.
Closing clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition.”
This is the same wording that Business Insider received from Walmart as well, so it seems the PR department at Walmart was ready for inquiries.
An in a press release late Thursday, Sam’s Club President and CEO said:
“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. 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.”
List of Store That are Closing
Irondale: 3900 Grants Mill Road, 35210
Anchorage, 8801 Old Seward Hwy., 99515
Anchorage, 1074 N Muldoon Road, 99504
Fairbanks, 48 College Road, 99701
Casa Grande, 2425 E Florence Blvd., 85194
Chandler, 1375 S Arizona Ave., 85286
Prescott Valley, 5757 E State Route 69, 86314
Scottsdale, 15255 N Northsight Blvd., 85260
City of Industry, 17835 Gale Ave, 91748
Stanton, 12540 Beach Blvd., 90680
Sacramento, 3360 El Camino Ave., 95821
San Fernando, 12920 Foothill Blvd., 91340
Manchester, 69 Pavilions Drive, 06042
Orange, 2 Boston Post Road, 06477
Fern Park, 355 FL-436, 32730
Lantana, 7233 N Seacrest Blvd., 33462
Tampa, 5135 S Dale Mabry Hwy., 33611
Lithonia, 2994 Turner Hill Road, 30038
Batavia, 501 N Randall Road, 60510
Matteson, 21430 S Cicero Ave., 60443
Moline, 6600 44th Ave., 61265
Naperville, 808 S Illinois Rte 59, 60540
Romeoville, 460 S Weber Road, 60446
Streamwood, 900 S Barrington Road, 60107
Wheeling, 1055 McHenry Road, 60090
Indianapolis, 3015 W 86th St., 46268
Indianapolis, 10859 E Washington St., 46229
Goshen, 4024 Elkhart Rd #1, 46526
Baton Rouge, 9598 Cortana Place, 70815
Owings Mills, 9750 Reisterstown Road, 21117
Worcester, 1 Tobias Boland Way, 01607
Farmington Hills, 32625 Northwestern Hwy., 48334
Lansing, 340 E Edgewood Blvd., 48911
Moorhead, 2800 27th Ave S., 56560
St. Louis Park, 3745 Louisiana Ave S., 55426
Seabrook, 11 Batchelder Road, 03874
Budd Lake, 81 International Dr S., 07828
Linden, 1900 E Linden Ave., 07036
Princeton, 301 Nassau Park Blvd., 08540
Jamestown, 720 Fairmount Ave, NY 14701
Rochester, 700 Elmridge Center Drive, 14626
Rochester, 1600 Marketplace Drive, 14623
Syracuse, 2649 Erie Blvd. E., 13224
Lumberton, 5085 Dawn Drive, 28360
Morrisville, 1101 Shiloh Glenn Drive, 27560
Cincinnati, 4825 Marburg Ave., 45209
Loveland, 9570 Fields Ertel Road, 45140
Memphis, 1805 Getwell Road, 38111
Nashville, 615 Old Hickory Blvd., 37209
Houston, 1615 S Loop W., 77054
Houston, 13331 Westheimer Road, 77077
New Caney, 22296 Market Place Drive, 77357
San Antonio, 12919 San Pedro Ave., 78216
Norfolk, 741 E Little Creek Road, 23518
Richmond, 4571 S Laburnum Ave., 23231
Auburn, 1101 Outlet Collection Way, 98001
Renton, 901 S Grady Way, 98057
Seattle, 13550 Aurora Ave. N., 98133
Madison, 7050 Watts Road, 53719
West Allis, 1540 S 108th St., 53214
Barceloneta, 1145 Carr 2, Bo Florida Afuera
Bayamon, Carr 830
Humacao, Carr 3 Km 82 Bo Junquitos
And in another blow to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria virtually destroyed the island, the company is closing three stores there as well.
Puerto Rico is already suffering huge job losses due to Hurricane Maria, so these three stores will further put pressure on a tight jobs market.
eCommerce to Blame?
Walmart did not provide any specific details on why these stores were being closed, but one can assume it must be a lack of sales.
The company did say they would convert up to 12 stores into eCommerce distribution warehouses. And workers at those ten locations could “re-apply” for new jobs in the distribution warehouse.
The first of these converted eCommerce fulfillment centers will be located in Memphis, Tenn.
It seems that even Walmart is not immune to the eCommerce growth in sales and had to face the reality of needing to trim stores and costs.
While right now we only know about Sam’s Club store closings, it wouldn’t be a total surprise to learn about some Walmart store closings as well. None have been reported as of this writing.
However, unlike Sam’s Club stores, which are not an integral part of Walmart.com’s eCommerce strategy for pick up, delivery, and returns, regular Walmart stores would have to be really poor performers to be axed.
It would seem that Walmart has every incentive to keep Walmart stores open as they build out the eCommerce strategy. It is what differentiates the company from Amazon!
The company also detailed that it will “Walmart will provide support and resources to those associates who are affected, including the bonus announced today and 60 days of pay, as well as severance to those eligible.”
This is by far the biggest surprise of store closings. In the official statement issued, the company said it would provide further information about the store closings and the costs involved when it releases its quarterly results on February 20, 2018.
What do you think about Walmart’s decision to close these Sam’s Club stores? Drop us a line in the comments section below.
NOTE: This story was updated on 1/12/2018 with information provided through Walmart’s official press channel. With the exception of adjusting the number of possible eCommerce fulfillment centers changing from 10 to 12, other updates only provided clarity or confirmation to the original story.