ATLANTA - A south DeKalb County Sam’s Club store is one among 63 from across the country that abruptly shut their doors for good Thursday.
Channel 2’s Nefertiti Jaquez went to the store location on Turner Hill Road near Interstate 20 in the city of Stonecrest where she ran into workers who were stunned to find the store closed.
Many people showed up to the store to work, or shop, only to find that a sign on the front door that read “Closed. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
Workers told Jaquez they were stunned because there was no notice given.
“I was just here working last night and we didn’t know anything. No one saw this coming,” worker Xavier Leaphart told Jaquez. "They said it was for strategic purposes. They didn’t give us details.”
Those who frequent the store were disappointed to learn in this way.
“Nothing was ever said and I’m coming up to the door and all of a sudden they're saying they're closed,” customer Denise Thomas said.
Jaquez contacted Walmart to asked about the closures.
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A company representative sent Jaquez a statement saying:
“We don’t take this lightly and decisions like these are incredibly difficult. This decision is based on a number of factors, including financial performance. Our hope is that many associates at the Club will choose to stay with the company via transfer and we’ll begin working to make that happen.”
Of the 63 stores, about 10 of those will be repurposed as online distribution sites.
As for the workers, Jaquez learned they will continue getting paid for the next 60 days while the company tries to help them get other jobs within the company.
“I had a better impression about Sam’s, but now it’s tarnished,” shopper Angela Bussey told Jaquez.
The company said they will refund membership fees, but it will have to be done at another Sam's Club location.
Sam’s Club has 660 locations total across the county. The company did not disclose how many people would lose their jobs.
Earlier in the day, Walmart had cited the sweeping Republican tax overhaul that will save it money in announcing the higher hourly wages, one-time bonuses and expanded parental benefits that will affect more than a million hourly workers in the U.S.
Walmart also announced that full-time hourly U.S. employees can get 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave.
Walmart, which reported annual revenue of nearly $486 billion in the most recent fiscal year, said the wage increases will cost it an additional $300 million in the next fiscal year. The bonuses will cost it about $400 million in this fiscal year, which ends on Jan. 31.
In all, Walmart employs 2.3 million people around the world, 1.5 million of which are in the U.S.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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