Walmart announced its first ever mass store closing on Friday, with 269 stores worldwide set to close their doors.
Of these closures, 154 are in the U.S., including all of the company’s 102 smallest Walmart Express stores.
The Bentonville, Ark. big-box giant will abandon its Walmart Express format, focusing on existing Supercenters, its growing Neighborhood Market grocery chain and its e-commerce business, according to a statement.
Walmart said 16,000 employees will be affected by this decision, 10,000 of whom are in the U.S.
“More than 95 percent of the closed stores in the U.S. are within 10 miles on average of another Walmart, and the hope is that these associates will be placed in nearby locations,” said Walmart in its Friday news release.
“Where that isn’t possible, the company will provide 60 days of pay and, if eligible, severance, as well as resume and interview skills training. Whether with Walmart or elsewhere, the company’s objective is to help all associates find their next job opportunity.”
The company — the world’s largest retailer, and largest private employer — said that these store closures represent less than 1% of Walmart’s square footage and revenue.
The bulk of the company’s international closures have already happened: Walmart shuttered 60 loss-making stores in Brazil. The retailer plans to close 55 small stores in other Latin American markets.
In the U.S., Walmart aims to open between 50 and 60 Supercenter stores and 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets in fiscal 2017, which begins February 1st.