Abrupt and widespread closures shocked Sam’s Club customers and employees on Thursday as their parent company Wal-Mart shut down more than 60 Sam’s Club stores nationwide.
The news broke just hours after the same company announced pay raises and bonuses for employees.
The closings include four stores in Texas, one of them in San Antonio. Many customers were shocked when they arrived at the Sam’s Club on San Pedro Avenue to a nearly empty parking lot usually buzzing with customers.
Just hours earlier, about 150 employees learned that their store was one of the 63 selected to close.
“This is a very sensitive conversation and we wanted to do it in person with all of our associates,” said Anne Hatfield, a Wal-Mart spokesperson. “So that is why we closed the club today.”
The spokesperson added that it’s a move to help other stores grow and strike a balance with online sales, which are booming.
“Our customers want to shop in a club but they also want t shop online,” Hatfield explained. “They want the convenience of both and it’s up to us to make sure we are providing that convenience of both in club and online.”
But some shoppers say the exact opposite.
“It would force me to go to have to go to another side of town to go to a Sam’s Club,” one customer said.
Others say that it’s a loss for the big box store as they consider heading to the competition.
The Sam’s Club store on San Pedro Avenue will open again on Friday and nearly everything will be 25 percent off. The store will officially close on January 26.
As for the employees, a spokesperson said that they will be paid for two months, along with a bonus and an attempt to relocate them to other stores.