TAMPA, Fla. -- Amid reports of several Sam's Club stores closed across the country, one location in Tampa Bay is among the mix.
A call to Sam's Club in South Tampa at 5135 S. Dale Mabry Highway returned a voice recording that said the store is closed Thursday, Jan. 11, but would reopen Friday.
The company says it will honor refund requests for the 45 dollar membership fee... and work with customers to transfer prescriptions.
Sam's Tampa location will reopen at 10 a.m. Friday before shutting down for good Jan. 26.
Several 10News TV and newspaper partners report on store closings -- effective immediately -- in places like metro Atlanta, Houston, Indianapolis and others.
Sam's responded to concerned customers on Twitter with the following statement:
"After a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we’ve decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy. Closing clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition."
The announcement comes as parent company Walmart announces boosting its minimum hourly wage for its U.S. employees to $11.
In a note to staff, Sam's Club President and CEO John Furner said that a review found stores that were hindering business at other locations or operating in areas that had not seen the population growth that was expected.
"We’ve decided to right-size our fleet and better align our locations with our strategy,'' he wrote. "We will be closing some clubs, and we notified them today. We’ll convert some of them into eCommerce fulfillment centers — to better serve the growing number of members shopping with us online and continue scaling the SamsClub.com business.''
In Louisiana, a Sam's Club in Baton Rouge that employs 176 workers was scheduled to close Thursday, with hourly staff being terminated as of March 16 and managers as of April 13. Ohio has two stores closing in Cincinnati and Loveland, with a total of 285 workers potentially affected. Their date to be laid off, according to the public notifications, is March 16.
In Texas, four stores employing 633 workers will shut, with three closing Thursday and another in San Antonio being shuttered Jan. 26. Four stores in California that employ 656 people will close their doors Jan. 26, and another 495 workers at three stores in Washington will also be out of work.
Furner said that the company would try "to place as many associates as possible in new roles at nearby locations.''
The retail landscape has been upended by the rise of Amazon and the growing shift by consumers to shopping online. Though warehouse-based retailers such as Sam's Club and Costco have a steady revenue stream fueled by member fees, they are also having to adjust to an environment in which customers can buy groceries, electronics and other products from a growing array of e-commerce and stores.
While Walmart reported that Sam's Club's sales rose 4.4% in the most recently completed quarter, Furner says that the store closures will free up resources that can be focused on bolstering Sam's Club's website as well as its in-store technology. There are also plans to improve the club's fresh-food offerings, overall product selection and its private label, Member's Mark.
Rival Costco has experienced significant online sales growth in the wake of improvements to its site, the launch of two new delivery options and the introduction of an option for shoppers to buy items such as computers and jewelry online and then pick them up at a store. Last month, Costco reported that its online sales had leaped 43.5% in the most recent quarter.
Meanwhile, BJ's, a membership warehouse club concentrated in the East, says it is benefiting from the Sam's Club closures. "We’ve had an immediate increase in Sam’s Club members joining BJ’s Wholesale Club,'' the company said in a statement, adding that it's also gotten queries from Sam's Club workers.
"BJ’s Wholesale Club is hiring.''
Information from USA Today was used in this report.
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