Walmart boosts starting pay, benefits

Some Sam’s Club stores are shutting their doors

Some Sam’s Club stores are shutting their doors

Following the tax-reform related release, Wal-Mart also announced the closing of 63 Sam's Club locations.

The news came as a surprise for the people who worked in some of those stores because majority walked into a sign announcing the closure, instead of their jobs.

According to local news reports, some workers and customers were showing up at Sam's Club, the buy-in-bulk warehouse owned by Walmart, to find stores had shut their doors. The closure was described as abrupt, and some employees reportedly did not know it was coming.

Sam's Club CEO John Furner notified employees of the closures in a company-wide email sent out on Thursday, Business Insider reported.

"So yeah, I'm upset, because I love Sam's Club", shopper Renee Blathers said.

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Sixty-three stores in total will be closing, but customer traffic and sales comparisons - the typical reasons why companies scale back store count - can't entirely explain why Walmart has done this.

In a tweet, the company said the closures would help "better align" its physical locations with its strategy.

"Our goal is to place as numerous impacted associates as possible at other Sam's Clubs or Walmart stores", he said in an email.

Customers also have the option of transferring their membership to another Sam's Club store.

WQAD News 8 is working to get in touch with Moline's planning and development director about the situation.

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With about 175 employees per location, that would translate into some 11,025 people affected by the move. If Walmart is pouring the benefits of the tax cut into worker pockets rather than investment or placating shareholders, that's because the company thinks it needs to to survive.

"[We've] had numerous inquiries from Sam's Club employees", BJ's said in a statement to CNN.

The world's largest retailer is no stranger to featuring in news headlines and is now fighting to improve its bad reputation in the USA over its treatment of employees.

Walmart, the largest US private employer, with more than 1 million workers, said Thursday it plans to raise starting wages from $9 to $11 an hour and hand out employee bonuses ranging from $200 to $1,000, becoming the latest company to give a least some of the credit for new worker benefits to the recently passed tax plan.

There are more than 650 Sam's Club locations across the U.S and Puerto Rico. "This announcement is an attempt to fix a crumbling image, while ignoring thousands of its workers who struggle year after year to pay their bills or depend on government assistance". Full-time hourly and salaried workers will also receive 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave.

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In all, Walmart employs 2.3 million people around the world, 1.5 million of which are in the U.S.

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