On Thursday evening a press release was issued in which Walmart, the owner of Sam’s Club, said that 12 of the 63 stores would be converted to fulfillment centers. This move lowers the U.S. Sam’s Club store count to 597.
A spokesperson for Walmart said that he estimated close to 9,450 people work in the 63 stores
Customers and workers learned of the store closings the same day Walmart received praise from the Trump administration for increasing pay and giving worker bonuses due to the new cut in the corporate tax rate.
Earlier during the day, news broke of the closing of an unknown number of Sam’s Club stores. At first, through its official account on Twitter, Sam’s Club said that 53 of its locations were going to be shut down, and that 10 would become fulfillment centers.
The first set of figures was revised later in the day when Walmart issued its press release. Throughout Thursday, customers used social media to ask questions about why the Sam’s Club location near them was closing. Some customer demanded to be refunded for their memberships to the club, which cost from $45 to $100 per year.
Through a brief statement, Sam’s Club responded to some of the questions asked. The statement said that following a full review of its portfolio, the company decided to close several clubs to better align our stores with our ongoing strategy.
The statement added that closing clubs was not easy and the company is committed to working with its impacted members as well as associates through the transition.
Sam’s Club said through Twitter that the pharmacies located in the Sam’s Club locations that are closing would remain open for a minimum of two weeks, while it works with transferring prescriptions and contacting clients.
In its statement, Walmart said it is offering resources and support to associates affected, including the bonus that it announced and 60 days’ pay, along with severance for those eligible.
A Sixty-day notice is required of big companies by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act before shutting a plant or the issuing of “mass” layoffs.
During much of the day, news outlets around the country reported closures had happened with no notice. Some said that employees were bewildered when they showed up for work and found out they did not have a job any longer.