In October 2015, the company said it was actively reviewing its portfolio. Today's announcement follows what the Betonville-based retailer said was 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.”
In total, the impacted stores represent less than 1% both global square footage and revenue, according to Wal-Mart Stores.
Specifically, the firm will close 154 locations in the US, including the company’s 102 smallest format stores, known as Walmart Express, which had been in pilot since 2011.
Walmart instead will focus on strengthening supercenters, optimizing its so-called 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.
The company is closing 115 stores outside the US. This number includes 60 recently-closed, loss-making stores in Brazil, which represents 5% of sales in that market.
In the same announcement, Walmart announced that domestically, Walmart intends to open 50 to 60 supercenters and 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets in fiscal 2017. In the same period, Sam’s Club plans to open in seven to 10 new locations.
Internationally, Walmart said it intends to open between 200 and 240 stores during the coming year.
“Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “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.”
In total, approximately 16,000 associates will be impacted by the decision, about 10,000 of them in the US. More than 95 percent of the closed stores in the U.S. are within 10 miles on average of another Walmart, and the hope is that these associates will be placed in nearby locations, according to the company.