Retailer Will Shift Focus Back on Improving its Largest Format - Wal-Mart Supercenters
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. this morning announced plans to close 269 stores, more than half of them in the U.S.
In total, the closings represent a tweaking of its portfolio and largely involve eliminating redundancies. More than 95 percent of the stores marked for closure in the U.S. are located within an average of 10 miles of another Walmart store. Impacted stores represent less than 1 percent of its global square footage and revenue.
The decision by the world's biggest retailer follows its internal review of its 11,600-store portfolio that began last October. The review took into account a number of factors, including financial performance as well as strategic alignment with long-term plans.
“Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores. “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.”
As part of today’s action, the company will close 154 locations in the U.S., including the company’s 102 smallest format stores, Walmart Express, which had been in pilot since 2011.
“While we have learned a lot from this pilot, including a deeper understanding of the everyday needs of our customers, we have decided not to proceed with this offering,” McMillion said.
Also covered in the closures are 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 Supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers, and four Sam’s Clubs.
McMillion said Walmart instead will focus on strengthening its biggest format Wal-Mart Supercenters, as well as its Neighborhood Markets format, growing its e-commerce business and expanding in-store pickup services for customers.
Domestically, Walmart intends to open 50 to 60 Supercenters and 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets in Fiscal 2017, which begins Feb. 1. In the same period, Sam’s Club plans to open in seven to 10 new locations.