Sam’s Club to Shutter 63 Stores, Convert 12 to E-Commerce Facilities

At least 12 of the stores will be converted into e-commerce fulfillment centers for Walmart, the first of which will be located in Memphis, Tenn.

BENTONVILLE, ARK. — Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), has announced that it will close 63 club locations across the country. The company will convert up to 12 of the impacted clubs into e-commerce fulfillment centers in efforts to speed delivery of online orders.

In addition, the company’s legal name will become Walmart Inc. effective Feb. 1 to reflect its growing status as an omnichannel retailer.

Sam’s Club is a retailer that offers wholesale sizes and prices to individual buyers who purchase a membership to the store.

“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,” says John Furner, president and CEO of Sam’s Club.

After the closures are completed over the next few weeks, Sam’s Club will operate a total of 597 locations nationwide. A list of affected stores was not disclosed.

A facility in Memphis, Tenn. will be the first club to be converted into an e-commerce center.

In addition to focusing on its e-commerce business, Sam’s Club is expected to improve its grocery selection and private-label offerings, according to national media reports. Competition from Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club was cited as reasoning.

Arkansas-based Walmart also reportedly raised the hourly minimum wage for its U.S. workers to $11 and improved benefit offerings such as parental leave.

Walmart’s stock price closed at $100.01 per share on Thursday, Jan. 11, up from $96.70 per share one year ago. Walmart reported fiscal year 2017 revenue of $485.9 billion.

Several other retailers have announced big box store closures recently. Just last week, Sears Holdings Corp. unveiled plans to shutter over 100 Sears and Kmart stores.

— Kristin Hiller

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