Walmart to shutter 63 Sam’s Club locations

Walmart can be shuttering 63 of its Sam’s Club locations across the U.S., with several stores closing their doors as early as Thursday, a company spokesperson told CNBC.

that will compares which has a total of 5 wholesale club stores the company has closed since fiscal 2013, securities filings show.

Up to 12 of the closed stores could be converted to e-commerce facilities, the spokesperson said, with the first conversion already planned for a location in Memphis, Tennessee. The efforts come as the retailer can be investing in its online capabilities.

Earlier Thursday morning, Walmart announced that will might be using savings via completely new tax legislation to raise employees’ starting wages along with also offer bonuses to staff, including those who work at Sam’s Club. The lower corporate tax rate also means companies may reap more savings via layoffs than before.

The company told CNBC all of Sam’s Club’s employees who are affected by the store closures will still be eligible for bonuses. that will didn’t disclose how many employees might be at risk of losing their jobs, however Sam’s Club has said each of its stores has about 175 workers.

Reports of the Sam’s Club closings began to emerge in local media outlets throughout Texas, completely new York, completely new Jersey Alaska along with also Arizona, amid complaints via disgruntled employees along with also confused customers. In some cases, employees weren’t notified in advance, some of the publications said.

Sam’s Club’s Twitter account was issuing statements to upset customers by Thursday afternoon. Some people were asking to have their memberships refunded, among additional complaints.

When one user asked about picking up a prescription via a closing store, Sam’s Club said, “Pharmacies will stay open for at least two weeks, along with also we will work with each state’s Board of Pharmacy to help guide This kind of transition.”

Walmart issued a statement late Thursday saying that will might book a charge of 14 cents per share related to the Sam’s Club closures, which might show up mainly in its fourth-quarter results. The company said that will might share more details when that will reports earnings on Feb. 20.

Sam’s Club has generally underperformed relative to Walmart, facing strong competition via discount peer Costco, which has excelled at merchandising along with also vendor relations, along with also online wholesale retailer Boxed. In recent years, Walmart has focused on reviving the brand.

At an October meeting with investors, Sam’s Club CEO John Furner said the retailer needed to improve its “competitive position” as same-store sales growth began to stall into the first half of fiscal 2018.

Those efforts might include better targeting households that will make between $75,000 to $125,000, Furner said. At the time, he didn’t speak to whether Sam’s Club might be closing or opening more stores as part of achieving those goals.

More broadly, Walmart has been investing in its digital business, underlined by its change of name via Wal-Mart Stores to Walmart. These efforts have been propelled by its acquisition of Amazon competitor, through which that will has been building a coterie of online brands.

After the closures are complete, Walmart will operate 597 club stores across the country.

— CNBC’s Courtney Reagan contributed to This kind of story.

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