Walmart is closing 63 Sam's Club stores and laying off thousands of employees.
The company abruptly shut down some of the stores on Thursday. The rest will close within the next couple of weeks.
Sam's Club CEO John Furner notified employees of the closures in a companywide email on Thursday.
"After a thorough review, it became clear we had built clubs in some locations that impacted other clubs, and where population had not grown as anticipated," Furner said in the email.
Furner added: "We will be closing some clubs, and we notified them today. We'll convert some of them into eCommerce fulfillment centers — to better serve the growing number of members shopping with us online and continue scaling the SamsClub.com business."
Here's Furner's email in full:
Over the past year, we've talked about how our business must change in order to be positioned for the future of retail. We're committed to creating a new and better Sam's Club that offers more value and a great experience to our members. When I shared our strategy in October, I said we'd make the choices it will take to get there. Today, I want to share some important decisions we've made.
Transforming our business means managing our real estate portfolio — we need a strong fleet of clubs that are fit for the future. After a thorough review, it became clear we had built clubs in some locations that impacted other clubs, and where population had not grown as anticipated. We've decided to right-size our fleet and better align our locations with our strategy. We will be closing some clubs, and we notified them today. We'll convert some of them into eCommerce fulfillment centers — to better serve the growing number of members shopping with us online and continue scaling the SamsClub.com business. The first of these conversions will be in Memphis, Tennessee.
We know these decisions impact people we care about deeply — our associates and their families, as well as our members and their neighbors — and we did not make them lightly. A Sam's Club is a place of community and memories, and we are so appreciative of our associates who have worked hard over the years to serve our members. Our immediate focus will be on helping those impacted by today's news. We will work to place as many associates as possible in new roles at nearby locations, and we'll provide them with support, resources, and severance pay to those eligible. Many of our associates and members will move to nearby clubs. If you work in such a club, please make them feel welcome.
The steps being announced today will help us serve our members better and grow. We'll be able to invest more in eCommerce, remodels, and in-club technology. We'll also be able to lean into the areas members care about most, including fresh food, Member's Mark, and exciting merchandise. By narrowing our focus and simplifying what we do, we'll be able to provide better items, a better experience, and a more valuable membership. In the coming weeks, we'll share some exciting steps we're taking to become even more special to our members.
Change is never easy, but we're making these decisions from a position of strength. As you've seen in our recent quarterly results, our traffic and comps have improved, and that's because of the work you do to serve our members. We have momentum, and now is the time to accelerate our transformation efforts. Thank you.