Sam’s Club is shutting 63 of its 660 stores in a move that, according to multiple reports, appears to have caught employees at those stores off-guard.
In a statement posted on its Twitter account, Sam’s Club said, “After a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we’ve decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy. Closing clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition.”
According to a Business Insider report, Sam’s Club CEO, John Furner, in an e-mail to employees said that clubs in some locations were having an impact on others, notably in areas where the population had not grown as anticipated. He said some of the stores that are now closed will be converted to e-commerce fulfillment centers.
An official statement from Walmart later confirmed the 63 closings after a performance review and that 12 sites will be converted to e-commerce fulfillment centers. The first of these sites will be located in Memphis, TN.
“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 Furner in the statement. “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.”
The announcement about the store closures came the same day that Walmart announced it was hiking the starting hourly wage for associates in the United States to $11 and providing a one-time cash bonus for eligible associates of up to $1,000.