Walmart is closing dozens of Sam’s Clubs stores across the country, but all three in Jacksonville are still open.
The company has not publicly commented on the closing other than posting on Twitter after multiple questions from customers: “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.”
Multiple local media outlets have reported closed stores in their areas. In some cases, employees were not told and showed up Thursday morning to find the store closed and the doors locked.
The news comes on the same day that Walmart announced it was boosting its minimum hourly wage for its U.S. employees to $11 and dishing out bonuses ranging from $200 on up to $1,000 for employees with 20 or more years with the company. It credited President Trump’s tax cut for enabling the move.
The Sam’s Club closings came without an announcement.
Business Insider has reported that 63 stores will be closed. At least 29 were closed Thursday, it said, and others will stay open for a few weeks. Business Insider listed two Florida stores, one in Tampa and one in Fern Park just north of Orlando, as among those closing. One Georgia store in Lithonia is also on the list.
It said that 10 of the stores will be turned into ecommerce distribution centers to help ramp up its ability to fulfill online purchases. USA Today reported that while those stores will reopen in a new role, workers previously employed at those locations are not necessarily guaranteed one of the new positions.
All 63 stores reported to be closing had been removed from Sam’s Club website by Thursday.
Employees at all three Jacksonville stores answered the phone Thursday and said they were open.
Though Walmart reported that Sam’s Club’s sales rose 4.4 percent in the most recently completed quarter, the company said that the closures will free up resources that can be focused on bolstering its website as well as in-store technology, USA Today reported. There are also plans to improve the club’s fresh food offerings, overall product selection and its private label Member’s Mark.
This report contains material from The Associated Press.
Roger Bull: (904) 359-4296