Wal-Mart will shut down 269 stores to focus on other aspects of the business, including online sales, the company announced Friday. Among the shuttered stores will be 154 in the U.S.
Wal-Mart, however, is not shrinking. In the same announcement, the company said it is planning to open 300 more stores globally next year. Because of this, NPR’s Chris Arnold described Wal-Mart’s move as more of a “repositioning” rather than scaling back. He said the company will also be more heavily focused on its e-commerce business, as online marketplaces like Amazon continue to flourish.
Of the 154 U.S. Wal-Mart locations being closed, 102 of them are Wal-Mart Express stores, the company’s smallest-format stores that had been in the pilot stage since 2011. The Wal-Mart Express stores are almost exclusively located in Southern states, as shown on this map by Quartz.
Instead, Wal-Mart said in a statement, it will focus on “strengthening Supercenters, optimizing Neighborhood Markets, growing the e-commerce business and expanding Pickup services for customers.”
The move to close the stores will eliminate about 16,000 jobs — 10,000 of them in the U.S. The company acknowledged the difficulty in closing stores, saying it will take steps to help employees.
“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,” Wal-Mart President and CEO Doug McMillon said in the statement.
“Domestically, Walmart intends to open 50 to 60 Supercenters and 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets in Fiscal 2017, which begins Feb. 1,” the statement said.
Wal-Mart, which boasts nearly 11,600 stores around the world, said the stores on the chopping block “represent less than 1 percent of both global square footage and revenue.”
The full list of stores to be closed can be found at the end of the company statement.