Sam's Club store closings are a PR mess on Walmart's big day

Sam's Club store closings are a PR mess on Walmart's big day

Sam's Club store closings are a PR mess on Walmart's big day

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.is closing 63 of its Sam's Club stores nationwide, including the store at 3360 El Camino Ave., in Sacramento. Reports indicated that more than 60 stores were closed in at least two dozen states, including Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Washington, Georgia and Florida.

The company said the wage increase benefits all hourly USA workers at its stores, including Sam's Club, as well as hourly employees at its websites, distribution centers and its Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters. The closure was described as abrupt, and some employees reportedly did not know it was coming.

Shoppers at the West Allis Sam's Club were turned away Thursday after seeing a note posted on the front door saying the store was closed.

BJ's Wholesale Club has a message for employees who got laid off from Sam's Club: Come work for us.

Several customers took to Twitter, where Walmart has been answering questions.

Our sister station in Wisconsin is reporting a location there will also be open tomorrow ahead of being permanently shut down.

WQAD News 8 is working to get in touch with Moline's planning and development director about the situation.

"We'll be talking with each associate and assessing interest in potentially transferring to another Walmart facility", she said, but if a transfer "is not possible, then ... of course, if they're eligible, they'll receive severance".

Walmart is boosting its starting salary for USA workers to $11 an hour, giving a one-time $1,000 cash bonus to eligible employees and expanding its maternity and parental leave benefits.

Business Insider reported the closings could impact more than 11,000 Sam's Club employees across the country. The amount, between $200 and $1,000, depends on how long they worked at the company.

Other policy changes Walmart announced - particularly an expanded parental and maternity leave policy - could further help the retailer attract and retain better workers.

"The wage increases will make a big difference to Walmart's lowest-paid associates, but do not yet match Target's commitment to raise pay to $15 an hour", said the Organization United for Respect at Walmart.

News 8 will update this story with more information as becomes available. Before, full-time hourly workers received 50 percent of their pay for leave. The fact that Walmart, which employs a substantial fraction of Americans all by itself, sees good business sense in an hourly wage increase is good evidence that that labor-force-participation number is sticky.

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