Sam's Club open in Winterville, but dozens of others closed
By Michael Abramowitz
The Daily Reflector
Friday, January 12, 2018
The Sam’s Club warehouse store on South Memorial Drive in Winterville was open Thursday, but a store manager left unanswered the question of its future as dozens of the stores across the country will be closed by parent company Walmart, according to Associated Press reports.
A Walmart official said the company is closing 63 Sam’s Club stores across the country. About 10 of those stores will be repurposed into e-commerce distribution sites.
A manager at the Winterville store, who identified himself only as “Mike” said the store was open Thursday, but he would not confirm its status beyond that, instead referring questions to Walmart corporate headquarters. A call by The Daily Reflector to corporate officials in Bentonville, Ark. left unanswered questions about the Winterville site and other locations in North Carolina.
At least eight stores closed abruptly on Thursday and the rest would shutter in the coming weeks, the official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the decision publicly.
The closures came on the same day that Walmart announced it would boost its starting salary for U.S. workers to $11 an hour and hand out one-time cash bonuses.
The Walmart official said it was too soon to know how many jobs would be eliminated with the Sam’s Club closures. He said some employees would be re-hired at other Walmart locations or at the newly created e-commerce distribution sites. Each Sam's Club warehouse employs about 175 people, meaning more than 11,000 people could be affected, according to the online news site Business Insider.
Sam's Club CEO John Furner notified employees of the closures in a company-wide email sent out on Thursday, Business Insider reported.
"After a thorough review, it became clear we had built clubs in some locations that impacted other clubs, and where population had not grown as anticipated," Furner said in the email. "We will be closing some clubs, and we notified them today. We'll convert some of them into e-commerce fulfillment centers — to better serve the growing number of members shopping with us online and continue scaling the SamsClub.com business."
Sam's Club membership fees — which cost $45 annually — will be refunded to customers affected by the closings,according to the BI report.