In what is being described as an “abrupt closure,” Walmart is permanently closing 63 Sam’s Club membership stores nationwide and laying off thousands of workers.
Apparently with little or no notice to the laid-off employees who arrived at work and found the stores closed with a closure notice on the door. While some of the stores will be converted to distribution centers, there is no guarantee that laid-off workers will be given jobs in the newly structured operations.
Walmart’s official response, via Twitter, is “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 CEO and President, John Furner, We’ve decided to right-size our fleet and better align our locations with our strategy. We will be closing some clubs. We’ll convert some of them into eCommerce fulfillment centers - to better serve the growing number of members shopping with us online and continue scaling the SamsClub.com business.'' It is no secret that Sam’s Club’s online activities compete directly with Amazon, Staples, and Office Depot.
One may also wonder if there is any linkage to the timing of Walmart’s announcement that they were raising the starting wages to $11, expanding employee benefits, and offering employees bonuses up to $1,000?