Walmart has announced that the company is shuttering 269 stores and laying off more than 16,000 employees. Of these, 10,000 employees are located in the United States. The closings include 154 locations in the United States, of which 102 are Walmart’s smallest stores – Walmart Express – that had been in a pilot stage since 2011.
The chain will also close 23 Neighbordhood Markets, 12 Supercenters, six discount centers, and four Sam’s Clubs. In Puerto Rico, it will shut down six stores. The rest of the store closures will be in Brazil.
Walmart is shutting down the stores in order to bolster its Supercenters and its small-format Neighborhood Market outlets. According to a statement, Walmart will attempt placing the displaced employees at other stores. Those worker who are not hired by other stores will receive 60 days’ pay and a severance, if eligible. They will also receive training in résumé writing and interview skills.
"The decision to close stores is difficult and we care about the associates who will be impacted," Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in a statement. "We invested considerable time assessing our stores and clubs and don't take this lightly. We are supporting those impacted with extra pay and support, and we will take all appropriate steps to ensure they are treated well."
Walmart has more than 11,000 stores worldwide, including 4,655 stores in the U.S. The company is the largest retailer in the world. It still plans to inaugurate 100 stores, including: 50 to 60 Supercenters, 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets, and as many as ten Sam's Club locations. Internationally, Walmart plans to open 200 to 240 stores within the next year.Shares of Wal-Mart stock fell $1.64, or 2.6 percent, to $61.42 in midday trading amid a broad market selloff.
Among the stores to be closed are a Sam's Club in Waterford, just outside of Detroit. Others include WalMart Express stores in Yanceyville, Liberty, and Midway NC.