On Thursday, January 11th, Walmart announced that it will be closing several of their Sam’s Club warehouse locations. The decision means that they will lay off 10 percent of their 110,000 Sam’s Club workforce, or around 11,000 people. In total, 63 stores around the country will either be shuttered or transformed into distribution centers for e-commerce.
Sam’s Club Sudden Closures Shock Employees
The 50 Sam’s Club locations which are going out of business for good either closed the day of the announcement or will close permanently in the next month.
Some employees say that they were given no warning about the store closings and suddenly found themselves unemployed. If true, this would be in direct violation of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, a labor law which requires employers to give workers 60 days notice of plant closings and en-masse layoffs.
Sam’s Club shutdown? Employees at this S Loop store tell me they showed up to work and were told store is closed effective today. Sign on door says same thing. Hearing other stores also affected. Waiting on answers from parent company, Walmart #khou11 pic.twitter.com/RtbY7EhiIK
— Jason Miles (@JMilesKHOU) January 11, 2018
BJ’s Opening Doors For Shut Out Workers
One silver lining to these massive lay-offs? BJ’s Wholesale Club is hiring.
The members-only warehouse chain released a statement in the wake of Walmart’s news, saying, “BJ’s Wholesale Club is hiring, and anyone interested in joining our team can go to bjs.com/careers or visit their local club.”
That is good news for all job-seekers, but especially those former Sam’s Club employees who were blindsided by the company’s decision to let them go. And it seems that BJ’s Wholesale Club is not hurting for the business, either. In the press release, BJ’s says they experienced “an immediate increase in Sam’s Club members joining BJ’s Wholesale Club.”
BJ’s has 200 locations in 16 states. To look at current job openings and apply, go here.
‘New Strategy’ Leads To Closings
As for Walmart, it explained that the decision to shutter so many locations was the result of a thorough performance review, and was partly due to lower-than-expected population growth in certain cities.
“We’ve decided to right-size our fleet and better align our locations with our strategy,” Sam’s Club President and CEO John Furner said in a statement.
Walmart Has Good News/Bad News Kind Of Day
The irony of the last-minute closings for these Sam’s Club locations is that earlier in the week, Walmart announced it would raise the starting salary for U.S. workers from $9 to $11 an hour, expand the parental leave benefit and hand out one-time cash bonuses of up to $1,000,” according to the Star Tribune.
The new tax bill recently passed by Congress helped the company make the move sooner than planned.
“Tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.,” Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon said in a statement.
Financial experts were left scratching their heads in the 180-degree shift in company news.
“Walmart should have been doing a big pre-dance with bright lights and trumpets, and now it’s staring at floodlights,” analyst Dean Crutchfield told CNBC. “It’s done something bad.”