NEW YORK - Walmart announced its closing 63 Sam's Club stores across the country, with some in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Up to 12 of those stores will be repurposed into e-commerce distribution sites to speed up delivery of online orders.
An official said at least eight stores closed Thursday and the rest would shutter in the coming weeks.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press because he was not authorized to discuss details of the decision publicly.
Some employees at the stores that abruptly shut their doors say Thursday's announcement came without warning. A noticed posted out front of the Sam's Club in Linden says closed 'today.'
Linden Mayor Derek Armstead says nearly 200 jobs were wiped out in the blink of an eye.
"This happened all so sudden. We received a call at approximately 9:00 (Thursday) morning informing us that there was going to be a major announcement, and at first I thought it was going to be good news - perhaps they were going to be expanding, but it was quite the opposite," said Armstea
The company has not released an official list of stores affected, but Mayor Rob Greenbaum of Mount Olive, New Jersey, posted on Facebook that the store in his town is closing:
(If you have information about other locations closing, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Transforming our business means managing our real estate portfolio and Walmart needs a strong fleet of Sam's Clubs that are fit for the future," said John Furner, president and CEO of Sam's Club.
The closures came on the same day that Walmart announced it would boost its starting salary for U.S. workers to $11 an hour and hand out one-time cash bonuses.
The Walmart official said it would too soon to know how many jobs would be eliminated with the Sam's Club closures. He said some employees would be re-hired at other Walmart locations or at the newly created e-commerce distribution sites.
Walmart said it will provide support and resources to workers who are affected. Those employees will get the $1,000 bonus announced Thursday and 60 days of pay, as well as severance to those eligible.
The announcement comes the same day Walmart announced it is boosting its starting salary for U.S. workers to $11 an hour, giving a one-time $1,000 cash bonus to eligible employees and expanding its maternity and parental leave benefits.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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