Few retailers, if any, are completely immune from the roller coaster-like action that the retail industry throws at every company, but there are at least a handful that are considered more or less insulated from poor sales performances and a temporary lack of consumer interest. However, when Walmart has to swallow its pride and adapt due to flagging results, the rest of retail might just pay attention.
Walmart announced Friday (Jan. 15) that it would begin the process of shuttering a total of 269 stores both in the U.S. and abroad. Though nearly 16,000 jobs are expected to be lost as a result of the cuts, CEO Doug McMillon explained in a statement that it was a bitter pill for the retailer to swallow, no matter how it tried to look at the facts.
“Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business,” McMillon said in a statement. "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.”
At the heart of Walmart's store rollback is the closure of all 102 Walmart Express locations throughout the U.S. Bloomberg explained that these smaller storefronts, first opened in 2011, were originally intended to serve a clientele that didn't necessarily need to buy in bulk and shop at the supercenters that the retailer became famous for. However, many inner-city Express stores were still stocked with big box items that weren't easily carried away — 20-pound bags of dog food and 30-ream rolls of toilet paper — and customers simply stopped showing up in favor of other stores that fit into their shopping habits.
Fortunately for Walmart and any loyal shoppers out there, the retailer explained that 95 percent of the closing stores are within 10 miles of another store, so nobody has to go without Patti LaBelle's Sweet Potato Pies, no matter how many stores close.