Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is closing 63 of its Sam’s Club stores nationwide, including the store at 3360 El Camino Ave., in Sacramento.
The list of closures reported by the company also included three other California Sam’s Club stores: one in City of Industry in Los Angeles County, another in Sylmar just north of central Los Angeles and a Sam’s in Stanton in western Orange County.
Some Sam’s Club stores closed abruptly on Thursday, with some employees claiming they had no prior warning of the closures. The local store on El Camino Avenue appears to be among those that will close permanently within a couple of weeks.
A phone message at the Sam’s Club on El Camino Avenue said the store was closed Thursday but would reopen Friday at 10 a.m. Signage at the store says doors will close for good on Jan. 26.
Retail analysts said a typical Sam’s Club store employs more than 100 part- and full-time workers. Analysts estimated that the nationwide closings will result in about 7,000 or more layoffs. The store closings represent about 10 percent of the 660 Sam’s Club stores nationwide.
Sam’s Club CEO John Furner notified employees of the closures in a companywide email sent Thursday, and made public on Thursday afternoon. It said, in part: “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, Tenn.”
Furner’s email also noted that “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.”
Locally, the Sam’s Club store still operates at 8250 Power Inn Road in Sacramento, plus the chain has stores in Citrus Heights, Roseville and Folsom.
News of the Sam’s Club closures came on the same day that Wal-Mart announced it was raising its starting wage rate for hourly employees in the United States to $11, expanding maternity/parental leave benefits and paying out one-time cash bonuses of up to $1,000 for eligible employees. Payments will vary based on length of time with the retailer.