Add Walmart to the list of large retailers that are closing brick-and-mortar stores – on Friday, it announced it would close 269 stores in the U.S. and internationally. “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. Walmart instead will focus on strengthening Supercenters, optimizing Neighborhood Markets, growing the ecommerce business and expanding Pickup services for customers. Also covered in the closures are 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 Supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers, and four Sam’s Clubs.”
In total, the impacted stores represent less than 1 percent of both global square footage and revenue, the retailer said – and it included a reminder in its announcementthat it also planned to open over 300 stores worldwide in the next year – “so we are committed to growing, but we are being disciplined about it.”
A postal advocate blogger brought a postal angle to the announcement. SaveThePostOffice.com pointed out the fact that the USPS often cites retailers as an alternative to visiting the post office.
“But,” SaveThePostOffice.com wrote, “one of the problems with citing alternative access points when the Postal Service wants to close post offices is that private retailers can be closed at a moment’s notice, like the 154 Walmarts closing soon or the 225 Staples stores that closed last year. There’s no guarantee that a particular alternative will be there tomorrow.”
Walmart isn’t alone in closing stores. About.com’s Retail Industry compiled a list of all of closures by large retailers, introducing its list with this characterization: “January is store closing announcements month for the U.S. retail industry and Walmart, Kmart, Sears, and jcpenney have all joined in the annual store closing ritual by revealing the total number of stores that they anticipate closing in the 2015 calendar year.”