In the kind of move that many industry observers have talked about, Wal Mart said it plans to close 63 Sam’s Club stores, while converting 12 of them into ecommerce fulfillment centers. The facilities will close over the next few weeks, the company said.
The move is designed to speed up delivery of online orders by expanding the company’s distribution network, putting more inventory closer to end customers. Walmart and Sam’s Club currently operate more than 5,400 locations across the U.S. After the reduction, there will be 597 Sam’s Club stores.
The first former Sam’s Club location slated to become an ecommerce fulfillment center is in Memphis, TN.
“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 in a prepared 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.”
Walmart will provide support and resources to affected associates including a bonus and 60 days of pay as well as severance for those eligible.