On Thursday, January 11, 2018, Sam’s Club began abruptly closing many of its stores across the US and the US territories, including Puerto Rico. In some cases, employees found out their store was closing when they arrived at work, in their work uniform, only to find the doors pad locked and sign stating the store was closing, effective immediately.
Many Employees Affected
This is certainly devastating news for the affected employees, but just as shocking for a multi-billion dollar, multi-national corporation that prides itself on efficiency and adeptness. This is even more shocking as this is occurring on the very same day that Wal-Mart announced it was raising its minimum starting wage to $11.00 and giving qualified employees a $1,000.00 bonus. Sam’s Club is a membership-only retail warehouse club owned and operated by Walmart. The club warehouse stores were first opened in 1983.
Both employees and customers were shocked to learn of the closing, mainly because of the lack of notice given by Sam’s or Wal-Mart. According to Business Insider, “employees were not told their store had closed before showing up to work on Thursday. Those employees learned their store would be closing when they found the store’s doors locked and a notice announcing the closing, according to reports. At some stores, employees were turned away by police officers”, Sam’s Club workers told Business Insider.
After the stories starting breaking of the unexpected store closings, Sam’s Club CEO John Furner notified employees via a company-wide email of the closings. According to Business Insider, the email stated “After a thorough review, it became clear we had built clubs in some locations that impacted other clubs, and where population had not grown as anticipated,” Furner said in the email. “We will be closing some clubs, and we notified them today.”
For many employees, this is truly devastating. One Sacramento California Sam’s Club employee that was interviewed by Business Insider described how she was notified. “FedEx showed up at my door with a package from Sam’s Club and I was thinking that maybe it was my W-2, instead it was a letter saying they are closing down… I’m unsure of what to do. I have a baby and a mentally sick mother. I’m lost. I’m heartbroken. I’m scared.”
In the last couple of years many business reporters and economists have speculated on whether the rise in online computer purchases by consumers is impacting “brick and mortar” retail stores. See more about these at:
- E-commerce is affecting brick and mortar retail, but not in the way you think by Forbes
- Study: E-commerce having negative impact on retailers’ operating earnings by CSA
- How the Growth of E-Commerce is Shifting Retail Jobs by NYTimes
- E-Commerce Continues to Affect the Retail Industry by the State Journal
For a complete list of Sam’s Club’s closing made public thus far, visit Business Insider.
Bond & Botes has several offices in the areas affected by the Sam’s Club store closings. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your financial situation or just want to speak with someone before things get out of control, I encourage you to contact an Bond and Botes office and schedule a free, no obligation consultation. When you need someone to look out for you and your families best interest, we will be there for you.
Cynthia T. Lawson is the Managing Partner of the Bond & Botes Law Offices location in Knoxville, Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor of Science from East Tennessee State University, and a Juris Doctorate from University of Memphis, Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law. She currently serves as a Mentor for the Moment in bankruptcy.Read her full bio here.