Walmart (NYSE:WMT) has announced it will shutter 154 U.S. stores and another 115 locations worldwide. In total, the impact represents less than 1 percent of global square footage and revenue.
The action follows the big box retailer's review of nearly 11,600 worldwide stores, which began in October 2015. The company looked at factors such as financial performance as well as strategic alignment with long-term plans.
"Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business," said Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Walmart. "Closing stores is never an easy decision, but it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future. It's important to remember that we'll open well more than 300 stores around the world next year. So we are committed to growing, but we are being disciplined about it."
Included in the 154 stores closing in the U.S. are the company's 102 smallest format locations—Walmart Express. The concept launched in 2011 to balance out Supercenters, along with the opening of more Neighborhood Markets and the growth of e-commerce and in-store pickup.
Also shuttering are 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 Supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers and four Sam's Clubs.
About 16,000 sales associates in all will be impacted, including about 10,000 in the U.S.
"The decision to close stores is difficult and we care about the associates who will be impacted," McMillon said. "We invested considerable time assessing our stores and clubs and don't take this lightly. We are supporting those impacted with extra pay and support, and we will take all appropriate steps to ensure they are treated well."
Walmart said it will continue to invest in its future. In the U.S., the company will open 50 to 60 Supercenters and 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets in fiscal 2017. In the same time period, Sam's Club plans to open seven to 10 locations. Globally, the company will open 200 to 240 stores in the coming year.
-See this Walmart press release
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