Retail giant Walmart has announced that it is closing 63 of its Sam's Club stores in the US, as it shifts focus to its e-commerce business.
The company will convert up to 12 of these outlets to e-commerce fulfilment centres, in a bid to improve the efficiency of its online delivery orders.
The first store to be converted is in Memphis, Tennessee, and the remaining stores will be closed over the next few weeks, according to Walmart.
“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.”
After these closures are completed, Walmart will have a total of 597 Sam's Club stores remaining in the US.
On the same day Walmart announced that employees could be affected by the Sam's Club closures, it also introduced new payment benefits for staff members.
Yesterday, Walmart announced plans to increase the starting wage rate for all hourly employees in the US to $11, expand maternity and parental leave benefits, and provide a one-time cash bonus for eligible staff of up to $1,000.
“Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO.
“We are early in the stages of assessing the opportunities tax reform creates for us to invest in our customers and associates and to further strengthen our business, all of which should benefit our shareholders."
The company said that these changes will benefit more than one million employees, and the wage increases are due to take effect in February.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Sarah Harford. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.