Walmart Drops Express Format While Closing 269 Stores

Wal-Mart Stores plans to close 269 stores in the United States and in international markets. The company said it plans to shutter 154 U.S. locations including the company’s 102 smallest format stores, Walmart Express, a concept that has been tested since 2011.

The company also plans to close 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers and four Sam’s Clubs.

With the U.S. store closures, Walmart stated that it would focus going forward on strengthening supercenters, optimizing Neighborhood Markets, growing the e-commerce business and expanding pickup services for customers.

Outside the U.S., plans call for closing 115 stores, with the total including 60 recently-shuttered, loss-making units in Brazil, and 55 other stores, primarily small, loss-making locations in other Latin American markets.

“Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business,” stated Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores. “Closing stores is never an easy decision, but it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future. It’s important to remember that we’ll open well more than 300 stores around the world next year. So we are committed to growing, but we are being disciplined about it.”

In the U.S., Walmart pointed out that it intends to open 50 to 60 supercenters and 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets during fiscal 2017, which begins February 1. Over the year, the retailer said it would open between seven and 10 new Sam’s Club locations. Internationally, Walmart intends to open between 200 and 240 stores during the upcoming fiscal year.

Walmart estimated that the financial impact of the announced closures would be 20 cents to 22 cents of diluted earnings per share from continuing operations, with 19 cents to 20 cents expected to impact fourth quarter results.