Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is closing 269 stores globally in an effort to retool its business model and strategy going into the new year. The firm said 16,000 employees would be affected, 10,000 of whom are in the U.S.
The company made the announcement of the store closings Friday morning saying that 154 of the closures would be in the U.S. The bulk of the store closures would be the company’s Walmart Express stores, which were started back in 2011. Walmart said it was closing the 102 smallest format stores to better focus on the super centers and Neighborhood Markets, as well as growing its e-commerce business.
In addition to the smaller Express closures, 23 Neighborhood Markets and 12 super centers would be affected.
Globally Walmart is closing 115 stores outside the U.S., the majority of which would be in stores in low performing Latin American markets. Recently the firm shuttered 60 stores in Brazil, which were not performing. The company didn’t have many details on the global closures but said that information was coming.
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The firm said it was going to aim to re-assign employees where it could, but in cases where affected associates couldn’t be reassigned, they’d be given 60 days pay and offered job training and resume building.
Despite improving sales, the news is certainly one that highlights the pressures of e-commerce on retailers. Walmart in recent years has been putting an increasing focus on building its online business, this year launching the same deals in store during Black Friday and the holidays as it did online. The firm also introduced Walmart Pay during the holidays, a similar concept to Apple Pay, where consumers can checkout with their smartphones.
The Arkansas based company said in fiscal 2017 it was still aiming to open 50-60 new Supercenters, 85-95 Neighborhood Markets and seven-10 new Sam’s Clubs stores. Globally the store is still planning to open 200-240 new locations.
The firm said is expected the closures to impact diluted earnings per share of approximately 20 to 22 cents, with approximately 19 to 20 cents expected to impact the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016. The firm reports its fourth quarter earnings and full year results on Feb. 18.