The same day Walmart Inc. announced wage increases, paid parental leave and employee bonuses, the Bentonville, Ark.-based company started a broad conversion and closure plan for warehouse format Sam’s Club.
On Jan. 11, the first of 63 planned Sam’s Club closures started, leaving some employees without notice. The closures account for about 10% of the company’s 650 Sam’s Club locations in the U.S.
It is unclear whether all of the closures will be in the U.S. Walmart did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The company plans to convert some of the club stores into e-commerce distribution centers, according to an article on Business Insider. Other stores will be open for a few weeks before closing permanently.
A Sam’s Club statement was posted on Twitter, saying:
“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. Closing clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition.”
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. Closing clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition.— Sam's Club (@SamsClub) January 11, 2018
“I think there are store closures ahead of Walmart that are going to be good for the company and good for shareholders,” Cast said on CNBC’s Power Lunch program.
The same day employees showed up to find their work closed, Walmart announced it was increasing the hourly wage for all associates in the U.S. to $11/hr. The company is expanding maternity and paternity leave, and providing a one-time cash bonus for “eligible” employees up to $1,000.
“Today we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” said Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, in a news release. “We are in the early stages of assessing the opportunities tax reform creates for us to invest in our customers and associates to further strengthen our business, all of which should benefit our shareholders.”
The company said wage increases will take effect in February, and will add about $300 million incremental expenses to its next fiscal year. The one-time bonus will cost an expected $400 million.