Walmart Closing Stores

January 16, 2016 by staff 

Walmart Closing Stores, Retail behemoth Wal-Mart plans to close five stores in Tennessee this month as part of a broader plan to shutter 269 locations worldwide and focus on the company’s Supercenters and e-commerce business.

The Neighborhood Market at 1220 Gallatin Ave. in East Nashville is included in the list of closures, along with “Express” format stores in Chapel Hill, Loretto, Cornersville and a Neighborhood Market in Dover, which is less than 70 miles northwest of Nashville.

The stores will close Jan. 28.

The Neighborhood Market in East Nashville is a half mile north of ALDI and Kroger stores. It’s about 10 miles north of a Wal-Mart store at 2421 Powell Ave. and about six miles south of the Wal-Mart Supercenter at 3468 Dickerson Pike.

Wal-Mart’s exit will leave a retail vacancy in East Nashville at a time when several national grocery chains, including Publix and Whole Foods, are rumored to be circling the local real estate market.

The impacted stores represent less than 1 percent of Wal-Mart’s global square footage and revenue and were selected based on financial performance and how well the locations align with the company’s long-term plans, the company said in a statement. Wal-Mart has nearly 11,600 stores worldwide.

The move represents a shift in focus for the world’s largest retailer by revenue, which plans to invest in its e-commerce business, raise wages for entry-level employees and expand in-store pickup for customers’ online orders, a service that launched in fall 2015 in the Nashville area. It shows an increased effort on competing with online shopping rival Amazon.

“Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business,” Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO, 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.”

The new stores slated to open in the U.S. will include 50 to 60 Supercenters, 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets and seven to 10 Sam’s Clubs.

Wal-Mart’s announcement Friday morning comes three months after McMillon told investors the company would evaluate its portfolio to become more nimble.

The 269 closures includes 154 U.S. locations and all of the company’s 102 Express format stores, which are smaller in size and have been in pilot testing since 2011. Express stores average about 12,000 square feet, compared to Wal-Mart Supercenters at 182,000 square feet and the roughly 38,000-square-foot Neighborhood Markets, which are designed to rival traditional grocery stores.

Also covered in the U.S. closures are 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 Supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers and four Sam’s Clubs.

More than 95 percent of the U.S. closures are located within an average of 10 miles of another Wal-Mart location. According to the Wal-Mart store locator, there are 43 stores within 50 miles of downtown Nashville.

John Berryhill, manager of the family-owned Loretto Cash Saver in Loretto, which is about 100 miles southwest of Nashville, said the store’s business was impacted when Wal-Mart opened an Express store about a half mile down the street in late 2014.

“I know there will be lots of families affected by people losing their jobs, and I hate to see that,” Berryhill said. “We’re going to do everything we can to give those people that were shopping (at Wal-Mart) a place to go.”

The closures will impact about 16,000 employees worldwide, including about 10,000 in the U.S. It’s unclear how many employees will be affected by the closures in Tennessee.

Wal-Mart said it hopes to place some of those associates in nearby locations. Other associates will receive 60 days of pay, and eligible employees will receive severance, Wal-Mart said.

“The decision to close stores is difficult, and we care about the associates who will be impacted,” McMillon said in the statement. “We invested considerable time assessing our stores and clubs and don’t take this lightly. We are supporting those impacted with extra pay and support, and we will take all appropriate steps to ensure they are treated well.”

Dover location only a year old

The location just east of the Dover city limits was a short-lived experiment. It opened almost exactly one year ago, on Jan. 14, 2015, Highway 79 across from Stewart County High School.

Wal-Mart’s arrival in Stewart County was considered a watershed moment, with almost 200 in attendance at a grand opening ceremony that included the Northwest High School ROTC from Clarksville, the Stewart County High School Band and city and county leaders. Checks from the corporation totaling $2,500 in grants were presented to Stewart County schools and local nonprofits.

The 12,000-square-foot store employed 25 part-time employees and included a pharmacy, meat counter and gas station.

This smaller “Neighborhood Market” concept has expanded quickly in nearby Montgomery County. Three such stores have opened since September 2015 in Clarksville, which already has three Wal-Mart Supercenters.

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