- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 11, 2018

Walmart announced it is closing dozens of Sam’s Club stores across the country after many employees reportedly showed up to work Thursday to find the doors locked.

The news came the same day Walmart, Sam’s Club’s parent company, announced that it is raising the starting wage rate for hourly employees to $11 and offering bonuses of up to $1,000 in the wake of the $1.5 trillion tax-cut package Congress passed last month.

“After a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we’ve decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy,” Sam’s Club said in a statement Thursday afternoon. “Closing clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition.”

Walmart told Business Insider that it is closing 63 Sam’s Club stores nationwide — many of which were abruptly closed Thursday.

Employees showed up to work at several Texas locations only to find a note on the door that read, “Sam’s Club is closed today. We regret any inconvenience,” a Houston CBS affiliate reported.

Another local report said some stores may reopen temporarily to sell off inventory at a discount before they close again for good.

Sam’s Club CEO John Furner notified employees of the move Thursday.

“Transforming our business means managing our real estate portfolio — we need a strong fleet of clubs that are fit for the future,” the CEO said in a company-wide email, Business Insider reported. “After a thorough review, it became clear we had built clubs in some locations that impacted other clubs, and where population had not grown as anticipated. We’ve decided to right-size our fleet and better align our locations with our strategy.

“We will be closing some clubs, and we notified them today. We’ll convert some of them into eCommerce fulfillment centers — to better serve the growing number of members shopping with us online and continue scaling the SamsClub.com business. The first of these conversions will be in Memphis, Tennessee.”

Mr. Furner said the company would help workers affected by the closures to find employment at nearby locations, as well as provide them with “support, resources, and severance pay to those eligible.”

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