Walmart will close 269 stores this year, affecting 16,000 workers

Inside grocery giant Walmart's effort to supersize local
Inside grocery giant Walmart's effort to supersize local

Walmart said it will close 269 stores in 2016, as the mega-retailer tries to revitalize its slumping finances.

The company said the stores it plans to close are generally poor performers, and most are within 10 miles of another Walmart. 154 of the locations are in the United States, two-thirds of which are the smaller "Walmart Express" stores. Only 12 U.S. Walmart Supercenters will close, along with four Sam's Club stores.

Of the 16,000 associates -- or employees -- to be affected, 10,000 will be in the United States. The company aims to place those associates in nearby Walmarts.

But when that's not possible, Walmart said it will provide the laid-off associates with 60 days worth of pay as well as resume and interview skills training.

The retail sector struggled mightily, and shares of Walmart fell 30%, last year.

Walmart (WMT) had been reviewing the performance of its stores since October.

"Closing stores is never an easy decision, but it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future," said Doug McMillon, Walmart's CEO.

Yet Walmart says it will continue with its plans to open 300 new stores around the world later this year and 2017, including up to 60 new U.S. Supercenters and 10 new Sam's Club stores

"We are committed to growing, but we are being disciplined about it," McMillon said.

The closings represent just over 2% of the company's 11,600 stores worldwide. They are generally smaller stores, making up 1% of the retailer's overall square footage and sales.

Roughly half of the closing Walmarts overseas are in Brazil, and the rest are in Latin American countries.

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