Wal-Mart will shutter 269 stores worldwide and exit its Wal-Mart Express small-store format entirely as the company adjusts to stiff competition from Amazon.
Wal-Mart said in a statement Friday that 154 closures would be in the United States. That is about 2 percent of Wal-Mart’s global footprint of 11,600 stores, and 3 percent of its 5,310 U.S. locations. Those stores are scheduled to close by the end of January.
No Minnesota stores are closing, but four in Wisconsin will shut their doors.
The company has been slow to pull out of a flat sales period after the recession. And although sales have improved recently, the retailer, the world’s largest by sales, has warned investors of lower profits next year because of investments in its workforce and e-commerce.
About 16,000 store employees will be affected worldwide by the closings, Wal-Mart said, including about 10,000 in the U.S.
Wal-Mart said it intended to transfer as many workers as it could to nearby stores and offer severance pay to those who do not find new positions. The company is the nation’s largest private-sector employer.
Even as it shutters locations, Wal-Mart said it would open more than 300 stores globally in its next fiscal year, which starts in February. That number includes 50 to 60 new U.S. stores.
“Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business,” Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart’s president and chief executive, said in a statement. “Closing stores is never an easy decision, but it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future,” he said.
Of the 154 U.S. locations that Wal-Mart will close, 102 will be Wal-Mart Express stores. It’s also closing 12 supercenters and four Sam’s Club membership stores.
New York Times