Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:53 pm
Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will close 63 Sam’s Club stores across the United States including the West Allis and Madison locations.
Both of those stores are closed today, will reopen tomorrow for liquidation sales, and then permanently close on Jan. 26.
Currently, Walmart and Sam’s Club operate more than 5,400 locations across the U.S.; after the actions announced today the company will have 597 clubs. The action was taken after a thorough performance review, the company said.
“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. “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.”
Some Sam’s Club employees learned about the closures Wednesday, but most heard about it today, said a manager at the Franklin Sam’s Club store. The store’s 165 employees will lose their jobs when it closes, according to a notice filed with the state.
“This is all evolving as we speak,” the manager said.
The manager, who did not want to give his full name, said the store closures make sense, as Walmart does what is best for Sam’s Club members and employees.
“We are not Sears, we are not in trouble,” he said. “In Madison the store (7050 Watts Road) was too small for the needs of customers.
The West Allis store, located at 1540 S. 108th St., was a victim of the ongoing Zoo Interchange road construction project, which made it too difficult for many customers to get to, the manager said.
“We built a brand new beautiful store in Menomonee Falls, which is close to West Allis and many customers started going there,” he said.
On Twitter, Sam’s Club said: “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.”
Walmart also announced today it would increase its minimum hourly wage for its U.S. employees to $11 and give bonuses up to $1,000, crediting the tax cut approved by Congress and signed into law by President Trump.
“Financially, things are great,” the Franklin Sam’s Club store manager said. “We are just right-sizing our business. Thanks to the Trump tax cut, we are doing great things for our existing employees. Our first priority is taking care of our members.”
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