UPDATE: Walmart to close 269 stores, including 11 in Arkansas | Arkansas Blog

UPDATE: Walmart to close 269 stores, including 11 in Arkansas

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Walmart,
the Arkansas-based retailer, announced today that it would close 269 stores worldwide, including 154 in the U.S. The main target is smaller stores.

As part of today’s action, the company will close 154 locations in the U.S., including the company’s 102 smallest format stores, Walmart Express, which had been in pilot since 2011. Walmart instead will focus on strengthening Supercenters, optimizing Neighborhood Markets, growing the e-commerce business and expanding Pickup services for customers. Also covered in the closures are 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 Supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers, and four Sam’s Clubs.

No word yet on whether stores in Arkansas might be affected.

The closings affect 16,000 employees, including 10,000 in the U.S. The company said it will try to place some at other stores. Those who don't get jobs will get 60 days of pay and, where eligible, additional severance.

The company operates more than 11,000 stores worldwide.

The decision drew sharp comment from Making Change at Walmart, a group with union backing, among others, that monitors the company's employment practices.

"Walmart is a company that, time and again, will say one thing and then do the opposite. Public relations matters more to them than their customers, the community, or their employees, said Jess Levin, communications director for MCAW. “While it pretends to value its employees, the reality is, for Walmart, its workers are disposable. Sadly, these latest store closings could very well be just the beginning. This sends a chilling message to the company’s hard-working employees that they could be next - and with no one standing up for them, that is no doubt the reality.”

UPDATE: Here's the list of store closings. It includes stores at Mansfield, Mulberry, Charleston, Coal Hill, Van Buren, Damascus, Decatur, Gentry, Gravette and Prairie Grove. CORRECTION: My original post failed to include an 11th store in Maumelle.

UPDATE: Sam's Club also laid off 120 people at its Northwest Arkansas corporate office today.




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