“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,” Sam’s Club president and chief executive officer John Furner said in a statement. “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.”
Up to 12 of the clubs slated for closure will be turned into e-commerce fulfillment centers, according to the company, which said the move will speed delivery of online orders. The first of the converted e-commerce fulfillment centers will be located in Memphis, Tenn.
Walmart said it will provide support and resources to those associates who are affected, including 60 days of pay and severance for those employees that qualify. Affected workers will also be eligible for the one-time bonus payments that were also announced Thursday. Those payments vary depending on how long an employee has been with the company, rising to $1,000 for those who have been there for at least 20 years.
“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.”