banner
Business

Wal-Mart to shutter 269 stores, 17 in NC

Posted January 15

Walmart exterior

— Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, with more than half of them in the U.S., including 17 in North Carolina, and another big chunk in its challenging Brazilian market.

The stores being shuttered account for a fraction of the company's 11,000 stores worldwide and less than 1 percent of its global revenue.

More than 95 percent of the stores set to be closed in the U.S. are within 10 miles of another Walmart. The Bentonville, Ark., company said it is working to ensure that workers are placed in nearby locations.

The store closures will start at the end of the month.

The announcement comes three months after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO Doug McMillon told investors that the world's largest retailer would review its fleet of stores with the goal of becoming more nimble in the face of increased competition from all fronts, including from online rival Amazon.com.

"Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business," McMillon said in a statement. "Closing stores is never an easy decision. But it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future."

Wal-Mart operates 4,500 in the U.S. Its global workforce is 2.2 million, 1.4 million in the U.S. alone.

Wal-Mart has warned that its earnings for the fiscal year starting next month will be down as much as 12 percent as it invests further in online operations and pours money into improving customers' experience.

Of the closures announced Friday, 154 locations will be in the U.S., including the company's 102 smallest-format stores called Walmart Express, which were opened as a test in 2011.

Walmart Express marked the retailer's first entry into the convenience store arena. The stores are about 12,000 square feet and sell essentials like toothpaste. But the concept never caught on as the stores served the same purpose as Wal-Mart's larger Neighborhood Markets: fill-in trips and prescription pickups.

Also covered in the closures are 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount stores and four Sam's Clubs.

Wal-Mart will now focus in the U.S. on supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, the e-commerce business and pickup services for shoppers.

In North Carolina, stores will close in Durham, Princeton, Coats, Four Oaks, Broadway, Red Springs, Stedman, Oriental, Benson, Carthage, Pikeville, Liberty, Richfield, Yanceyville, Snow Hill, Ayden and Midway.

The retailer is closing 60 loss-making locations in Brazil, which account for 5 percent of sales in that market. Wal-Mart, which operated 558 stores in Brazil before the closures, has struggled as the economy there has soured. Its Every Day Low price strategy has also not been able to break against heavy promotions from key rivals.

The remaining 55 stores are spread elsewhere in Latin America.

Wal-Mart said that it's still sticking to its plan announced last year to open 50 to 60 supercenters, 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets and 7 to 10 Sam's Clubs in the U.S. during the fiscal year that begins Feb. 1. Outside the U.S., Wal-Mart plans to open 200 to 240 stores.

The financial impact of the closures is expected to be 20 cents to 22 cents per diluted earnings per share from continuing operations with about 19 cents to 20 cents expected to affect the current fourth quarter. The company is expected to release fourth quarter and full year results on Feb. 18.

Shares of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. fell $1.12, or 1.7 percent, to 61.94 in morning trading.

42 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Hubert Lee Dawson Jan 16, 2016
    user avatar

    On the other side and then our economy is getting better every day. Where is the sarcasm font?

  • Keith McCraw Jan 16, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread



    Then you really need to educate yourself on Walmart as a corporation. Has nothing to do with snobbery. Basically a bunch of pirates who stop at nothing to monopolize small towns, pass legislation to drive smaller suppliers out of business in favor of their cronies, pay employees a pittance that even a teenager couldn't live on. But by all means, if saving money is more important to you, go right ahead with the other lemmings that shop there.

  • Keith McCraw Jan 16, 2016
    user avatar

    Haha. Kinda reminds me of the old joke...
    "What do you call a million lawyers at the bottom of the ocean".

  • Betsy Smith Jan 15, 2016
    user avatar

    It's not about being superior or snobbish, it's about paying attention to quality AND quantity; not just the price. Some products are special versions made just for Walmart. Unless you read the package or know the net weight/fluid ounces of the normal versions, you think you're getting the same thing. Some gun owners probably have no clue about the special Walmart version of Federal ammo that was labeled "not for law enforcement use". Penny wise and pound foolish to use ammo that might foul the barrel or injure the shooter. Also, Walmart's "organic" food is likely suspect based on articles I've read. I recommend you smell the toys and household products you get from anywhere. All things made in China aren't created equal. Despite billions in profits, Walmart has some of the lowest quality items out there (along with dollar stores). But at least you have extra cash for allergy and headache meds right?

  • John Kaiser Jan 15, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    You might note that the stores you mention tend to be located in malls which have been dying an agonizingly slow death over the last two decades, if not longer.

    And I am not sure why you think all Americans share the same level of economic suffering. Some are still struggling but many have seen their wages improve and others have returned to work (the unemployment stats are readily available). Indeed private employers have been giving raises that outstrip inflation since at least 2012 (http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/09/07/2015-pay-raises-should-average-3/15136423/) And while we are far from doing great economically, many are doing considerably better than they were 2008-2011/12.

  • Greg Klayton Jan 15, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Most of us are still clipping coupons and spending far less. U.S. wages adjusted for inflation have remained stagnant at best.

    Also, the higher-end department stores Macy's has been closing their stores and has just announced more to be closed. In 2014 the upscale Dillards clothing store shuttered many of its stores, one in Chapel Hill.

    The notion that Americans have money to burn is just not true.

  • John Kaiser Jan 15, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Also, you can see evidence for this in Target's rebound over the last several quarters, as Wal-mart has consistently faced lower numbers.

    http://registerguard.com/rg/business/33908933-63/targets-turnaround-gets-shoppers-to-return.html.csp

  • John Kaiser Jan 15, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    If that was how capitalism worked we would all be clipping coupons and spending far less. Most people like to get their shopping done in a few stores and if possible, one. That may mean paying a bit more but shoppers will pay for convenience. They will also pay for brand names they trust, good will, etc. Shoppers are not robots who are programmed to shop only for the lowest price.

    Walmart recognized as much last year when it raised it minimum wage across the board largely in response to bad P.R. about its low wages and the number of its employees on public assistance. While this will mean modest price increases, Wal-mart management recognized that was better than the damage its PR was suffering. It is a clear example of how prices are not the only motivating factor for customers.

  • Greg Klayton Jan 15, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    Nice theory, but no evidence to support it. Plus, when you can get a box of detergent and other disposable goods at 40% the cost of, say, Harris Teeter, shoppers will still go to the place that has the consistently best deal. That's capitalism.

  • John Kaiser Jan 15, 2016
    user avatar

    View quoted thread


    I should add McDonalds went through the same thing. During the worst of the recession their dollar menu was a real hit. As things began to get better those dollar menu buyers became fewer as they now went back to higher-end fast food places or even restaurants that they had previously enjoyed.

More...