On the same day Walmart announced it is raising its minimum wage and giving one-time bonuses to certain employees, the company quietly closed 63 members-only Sam's Club stores across the United States.
In announcing the new $11 minimum wage and bonuses, Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon said on Thursday that "tax reform gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.," with Walmart shelling out $300 million for wage increases and $400 million for bonuses. After this was reported with much fanfare, Sam's Club announced that following "a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we've decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy."
At many Sam's Club locations, employees showed up to work to find out their store was shutting down. "The store closures with no notice is a bit out of character for Walmart and not the best way to treat your employees," Ken Perkins, founder of research firm Retail Metrics, told NBC News. He estimated that under the new tax plan, Walmart could save $2 billion in taxes. Walmart spokesman Greg Hitt estimated that about 9,450 people are employed in the 63 stores, but did not say how many will lose their jobs.