Walmart said Friday that it will close 269 stores globally, including shutting down its fleet of 102 'Express' format stores in the U.S.
Walmart (WMT) will close 269 stores around the world in a strategic move to focus more on its supercenters and e-commerce business, the company said Friday.
The closures include 154 U.S. locations, encompassing Walmart's entire fleet of 102 "Express" format stores, its smallest stores, which have been in pilot testing since 2011. Some supercenters, Sam's Club locations and Neighborhood Markets will also close, plus 115 stores in Latin American markets. The closures were decided based on financial performance and how well the locations fit with Walmart's broader strategy, says Greg Hitt, a company spokesman.
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Walmart has been working aggressively to grow its e-commerce presence and digital services, plus upgrade stores and provide shoppers with a more pleasant experience. In that vein, the company has also been making a big push to increase wages and provide more training to employees, an effort that's costing more than $1 billion.
The store closures, which represent less than 1% of global revenue from Walmart's nearly 11,600 stores worldwide, will allow the retailer to step up its digital and in-store initiatives, Hitt says. The full list of stores closing, set to be completed over the next two weeks, is on Walmart's website.
In a statement, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the company is "committed to growing, but we are being disciplined about it." Walmart plans to open more than 300 stores in the coming fiscal year.
In addition to its supercenters and e-commerce initiatives, Walmart also plans to invest more in its Neighborhood Market format, smaller stores that are around 38,000 square feet and concentrated in fresh grocery items and pharmacy services, plus expand in-store pick-up services for online orders.
Around 16,000 store associates are affected by the store closures, with about 10,000 in the U.S. Some will have the opportunity to relocate to other Walmart stores. The rest will receive 60 days pay plus severance if eligible, the company said.
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The news comes as other retailers have announced store closures recently in order to stay competitive in a changing retail landscape. Finish Line said last week that it would close 150 stores after reporting a third-quarter loss. Macy's also said last week that it plans to close 36 stores and eliminate more than 4,500 positions in a bid to become a more nimble business.