- Walmart is abruptly closing 63 Sam’s Club locations across the US, the company told Business Insider on Thursday. Some stores have already closed; others will close within weeks.
- Employees were not informed of the closings ahead of time.
- Three of these stores are in Puerto Rico.
Walmart has dealt a massive blow to its Puerto Rican employees after closing three of its Sam’s Club stores without warning.
In total, the retailer will be closing 63 stores across the US.
Employees of its Bayamón and Barceloneta stores turned up to work today to find a sign saying, “This Club will remain closed today,” Caribbean Business reported.
A third store, in Humacao, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria, has been closed ever since and will not reopen.
“The Barceloneta, Puerto Rico store closed without notice – over 950 people without jobs,” Eliezer Cabrera, a Sam’s Club shopper, told Business Insider. “This is the last thing Puerto Rico needed after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.”
The retailer, which owns 45 stores in Puerto Rico, including two distribution centres and a headquarters, donated $US5 million towards Hurricane Maria relief efforts in September. The company said this money should go towards helping its nearly 15,000 employees and their families there.
“Our associates and friends in Puerto Rico are in significant need,” Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Walmart, said in a statement to the press. “We want to do all we can to help, not only with immediate hurricane assistance but in the long term, knowing that there are many challenging days of recovery and rebuilding ahead.”
Walmart has not confirmed how many employees have lost their jobs, but as each Sam’s Club warehouse employs about 175 people, more than 500 people could be impacted.
The closings came on the same day that Walmart announced plans to raise starting hourly wages to $US11, expand employee benefits, and offer workers bonuses of up to $US1,000.
Here are the full addresses of the three Puerto Rico stores that have been closed:
- 1145 Carr 2, Bo Florida Afuera, Barceloneta, 00617, Puerto Rico
- Carr 830, Bayamón, Puerto Rico, 00957
- Carr 3 Km 82 Bo Junquitos, Humacao, 00741, Puerto Rico
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