Sam’s Club closing stores in strategy realignment

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Sam’s Club closing stores in strategy realignment

By David Salazar - 01/11/2018
Walmart will be closing several of its Sam’s Club stores, the retailer announced Thursday. The company is set to close 63 stores this year, with plans to convert as many as 12 of them to e-commerce fulfillment centers with the aim of speeding up its online order delivery.

According to company leadership, the closings — which will bring Sam's Club’s store count to 597 clubs — are part of an effort to remain competitive.

“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.”

Sam's Club said that the first store to be converted into a fulfillment center will be in Memphis, Tenn. Walmart will be providing pay and resources to affected employees, as well as 60 days of pay and severance to those eligible. As part of the company's Thursday announcement to raise wages and improve benefits, as well as offer bonuses to certain eligible employees, eligible Sam's Club employees affected by the closings will be able to claim them, the company said.
“We need great people to help lead us into the future and we hope that many of them will stay with the company at either a local store or club,” Furner said. “Change is never easy, but we’re making these decisions as part of running a healthy business.”

The announcement of the closures and conversions came on the heels of the retirement of Sam’s Club’s senior vice president and GMM of consumables and health and wellness Jill Turner-Mitchael.