Walmart today announced plans to close 269 stores, including nine in Kansas.
None are in northwest Kansas, according to a list of the closing released shortly before noon by the nation’s largest retailer.
All of the Kansas stores are either Walmart Express or Neighborhood Markets. No Walmart Supercenters in Kansas are scheduled to be closed.
Walmart Express locations to be closed are in Clearwater, Burlington, Columbus, Ellsworth, Rose Hill and Hillsboro. The Neighborhood Market stores to be closed all are in Wichita.
The closings are an outgrowth of lackluster growth, and follow an October announcement that the company’s portfolio was under review.
“Today’s action follows a thorough review of Walmart’s nearly 11,600 worldwide stores that took into account a number of factors, including financial performance as well as strategic alignment with long-term plans,” the company said in a statement.” In total, the impacted stores represent less than 1 percent of both global square footage and revenue.”
“Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business,” Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon said in the statement. “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.”
Of the 269 closings, 154 are in the United States and will including the company’s 102 smallest format stores, the so-called Walmart Express, first introduced in 2011.
Walmart instead will focus on strengthening Supercenters, optimizing Neighborhood Markets, growing the e- commerce business and expanding Pickup services for customers, the company state in a statement. Also covered in the closures are 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 Supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers and four Sam’s Clubs.
Walmart will continue to invest in its future, it said, with plans to open stores worldwide in the coming fiscal year. Domestically, Walmart intends to open 50 to 60 Supercenters and 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets in fiscal year 2017, which begins Feb. 1. In the same period, Sam’s Club plans to open in seven to 10 new locations. Internationally, Walmart intends to open between 200 and 240 stores during the coming year.
The closings will affect approximately 16,000 associates, about 10,000 of them in the U.S. More than 95 percent of the closed stores in the U.S. are within 10 miles on average of another Walmart, and the company said it hopes the employees can transfer to nearby location.
Where that isn’t possible, the company will provide 60 days of pay and, if eligible, severance, as well as resume and interview skills training.