Walmart To Close 269 Stores Globally, 154 Of Those In U.S.

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM) — Walmart announced Friday (Jan. 15) that it plans to close 269 stores globally, with 154 of those in the U.S.

For a list of store closures in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, click here.

Walmart’s comes after the company reviewed its 11,600 worldwide stores by taking into account financial performance as well as strategic alignment with long-term plans, according to a media release. The impacted stores represent less than 1% of both global square footage and revenue, the release states.

Of the 154 stores Walmart will close in the U.S., 102 of them are the company’s smallest format stores called Walmart Express, which had been in a pilot phase since 2011. Also included in the closures are 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 Supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers, and four Sam’s Clubs.

The company will instead focus on strengthening its existing Supercenters, optimizing existing Neighborhood Markets, growing the e-commerce business and expanding Pickup services, according to the release.

Walmart is closing 115 stores outside the U.S., which includes 60 recently-closed, loss-making stores in Brazil and the remaining 55 are primarily small, loss-making stores in other Latin American markets.

Approximately 16,000 workers will be impacted by the closures, about 10,000 of them are in the U.S., but more than 95% of the closed stores are within an average of 10 miles from another Walmart, so the hope is that these workers will be placed in nearby locations, according to the release. Where that isn’t possible, the company will provide 60 days of pay, and, if eligible, severance pay, as well as resume and interview skills training.

The release states the company plans to open other stores worldwide in fiscal 2017, which begins Feb. 1. Domestically, Walmart plans to open 50 to 60 Supercenters, 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets, and seven to 10 Sam’s Clubs. Internationally, the company plans to open between 200 and 240 stores during the coming year, according to the release.

To read the full release, click here.

Jess Levin, the communications director for Making Change at Walmart, which is anchored by the United Food & Commercial Workers, released the following statement:

“Walmart is a company that, time and again, will say one thing and then do the opposite. Public relations matters more to them than their customers, the community, or their employees.

While it pretends to value its employees, the reality is, for Walmart, its workers are disposable. Sadly, these latest store closings could very well be just the beginning. This sends a chilling message to the company’s hard-working employees that they could be next – and with no one standing up for them, that is no doubt the reality.

Now more than ever, Walmart’s workers must work together to change Walmart for the better. Clearly, the livelihoods of all Walmart employees depend on it.”

Making Change at Walmart is a campaign made up of Walmart associates, union members, small business owners, religious leaders, community organizers, women’s advocacy groups, multi-ethnic coalitions, elected officials and ordinary citizens who believe that changing Walmart is vital for the future of the country, according to the campaign’s website.

According to Walmart, the company announced in October 2015 that it was reviewing its portfolio to ensure assets were aligned with strategy. Friday’s decision follows through with that review.

Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon issued the following statement regarding the closures:

“Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business. 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.”

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