Wal-Mart to close six stores in Oklahoma

Wal-Mart to close 154 express stores nationwide, six of which are in Oklahoma.
Photo by Abby Bellow

Wal-Mart to close 154 express stores nationwide, six of which are in Oklahoma. Photo by Abby Bellow

The world’s largest retailer is closing down 269 six around the globe, six of which are in Oklahoma.

Wal-Mart has already closed 60 stores in Brazil, and most selected stores in the U.S will close by the end of January. Closing 154 stores in America and 115 outside America, the company’s decision will affect 16,000 employees, who will be placed in nearby stores. However, when that is not possible the company said it will provide the laid-off employees with 60 days’ worth of pay as well as resume and interview skills training, according to its

“Wal-Mart is closing its express stores, which was their venture into competition with dollar general, very small stores,” Jeff Simons, dean of business at Oklahoma Christian, said. “By doing that Wal-Mart was getting away from their core competency which are the larger stores. They are trying to return back to what they do well.”

Overall, the stores closing down only represent about 2 percent of total outlets and 1 percent of revenues, according to the company. Since October of last year, Wal-Mart has reviewed its performance, where 30 percent of its shares fell.

“I am slightly surprised they are closing some stores, because they seem to have stores everywhere,” Kate Burkett, a student at Oklahoma Christian University, said. “I would like to know why they are closing.”

The company said it is closing the stores to shift resources to Wal-Mart’s Supercenters and smaller-format Neighborhood Market stores. “The decision to close stores is difficult and we care about the associates who will be impacted,” Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon said in an online   on January 15.

According to Burkett, the closing of Wal-Mart express stores is reducing competition for smaller grocery stores.

“My dad works for a small grocery store chain, so I am always hearing how they open new stores in the small towns he works in,” Kate Burkett said “Based on my dad’s job it sounds good to me that they are closing, but most people aren’t going to care. It makes me happy in a twisted way.”

Although more than 95 percent of the closed stores are within 10 miles of another one, the local community is still affected, according to Wal-Mart employee Shawn Turner.

“Wal-Mart closing down affects us a lot, because that is less Wal-Mart stores open and they need more profit,” Turner said. “So instead of things getting shipped to their Wal-Mart, it is going to be shipped at our Wal-Mart which means for the stockers there is going to be more things to stock.”

However, Turner said the increase of stocking needs at Wal-Mart Superstore may provide more work and managing opportunities.

“For someone that wants more hours and wants to be higher up and manage it’s a good thing,” Turner said. “It’s bad at the same time, because some people are losing jobs.”

Associate Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Honors Brian Simmons said that stores closing have a bigger affect the economy.

“Anytime any business closes it will affect the economy because you have people who had a job who no longer have a job,” Simmons said. “Of course that is problematic. We have people whose income won’t be used to buy and sell other goods and the government won’t have the taxes from income taxes. It will hurt the smaller communities, but not Oklahoma on the grand-scheme.”

Wal-Mart plans to open 200 to 240 stores within the next year globally, including 100 U.S. stores such as Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, according to its website.

“In the retail environment, if you have a store that isn’t producing very well, you either have to look at if you can turn that around or if you have to close it,” Simmons said. “That is why we see retailers opening some stores in some areas and closing stores in others. They are just trying to maximize their profit.”

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