Walmart Forced to Shut down 269 Stores, Fire 16,000 People as Profits Plunge

January 15, 2016   |   Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish
January 15, 2016

(ANTIMEDIA) Walmart announced Friday it will be closing 269 ‘underperforming’ stores worldwide — forcing 16,000 associates affected by the closures out of work if they can’t be transferred to nearby stores.

Beginning next month, 154 stores in the U.S. and 115 in Latin America — including all 102 Walmart Express locations, which haven’t been profitable — will shutter their doors for good “as the company works to invest more money in e-commerce activities and wage growth for store employees,” reported the Wall Street Journal.

Walmart claims it will attempt to place the now-jobless employees in positions at stores close by, but if it is unable to do so, the employees will receive 60 days and severance — if they’re ‘eligible’ — as well as resume aid and skills training for future job interviews.

“The decision to close stores is difficult and we care about the associates who will be impacted,” claimed Walmart CEO Doug McMillon in a statement. “We invested considerable time assessing our stores and clubs and don’t take this lightly. We are supporting those impacted with extra pay and support, and we will take all appropriate steps to ensure they are treated well.

Some might say there’s a first time for everything.

Walmart notoriously underpays its employees, who are often forced to rely on government programs to avoid abject poverty. As a report by Americans for Tax Fairness, Walmart on Tax Day: How Taxpayers Subsidize America’s Biggest Employer and Richest Family, revealed on April 15, 2014 [with all numbers relevant to that date, of course]:

“Walmart is the largest private employer in the United States, with 1.4 million employees. The company, which is number one on the Fortune 500 in 2013 and number two on the Global 500, had $16 billion in profits [in 2013] on revenues of $473 billion. The Walton family, which owns more than 50 percent of Walmart shares, reaps billions in annual dividends from the company. The six Walton heirs are the wealthiest family in America, with a net worth of $148.8 billion. Collectively, these six Waltons have more wealth than 49 million American families combined.”

In April 2015, the mega-corporation was again at least partly the focus of a similar study, The High Public Cost of Low Wages, by researchers from the Labor Center at the University of California, Berkeley. They found “low wages cost U.S. taxpayers $152.8 billion each year in public support for working families.”

“The financial impact of these closures is estimated to be approximately $0.20 to $0.22 of diluted earnings per share from continuing operations, with approximately $0.19 to $0.20 expected to impact the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016,” Walmart’s statement reads.

A partial list of the impacted stores has also been published in the company’s press release, with closings dates appearing to begin as early as Monday.

Though the number of store closings seems high, with 11,500 total retail stores around the world — 4,500 of those in the United States — it represents less than 1% of Walmart’s global revenue. The mega-corporation’s payroll comprises 2.2 million people around the world, including 1.3 million in the U.S.

Walmart still plans to “open well more than 300 stores around the world next year,” and in conjunction with the announced closures, the resulting ‘portfolio management’ is the company’s effort to maintain a “healthy business,” as McMillon explained.

Sixty stores in Brazil, included in the total closures announced today, have already shut down due to lackluster profits and a tanking economy in that country.

However the company frames it — and no matter your views about corporate self-preservation — Walmart’s business practices cannot possibly be called ethical. Punishingly low wages are awful enough for those who are often prevented from maintaining full-time hours by such employers, and now 16,000 of them will have to start over with a fresh job search — with virtually no warning given.


This article (Walmart Forced to Shut down 269 Stores, Fire 16,000 People as Profits Plunge) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: Walmart. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Author: Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include thwarting war propaganda through education, the refugee crisis & related issues, 1st Amendment concerns, ending police brutality, and general government & corporate accountability. Born in North Carolina, she now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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56 Comments

  1. Finally… I've been boycotting this place for years now, and held my own protests in front of opening stores. This is not news, it's music.

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  2. Except to that 16,000 released slave labourers, oh sorry, employees. Though I am sure that after working there, they can tolerate any job. I felt the same when I left call centre work, if you can work in a big call centre, you can work in just about anything after that. Though, maybe, just maybe, if the CEO's didn't pillage the tax benefits it gets, I mean makes a living wage from, and distribute it, maybe they would not be boycotted and not have to close their stores.

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  3. Other than the 16,000 effected personell, GOOD! Maybe if the Walton's living wage wasn't so high, they could probably increase the living wage of their employee's a little and negate the boycott of their stores. Let's be honest here, the boycotting by several countries as well as domestic boycotts surely have had their impacts felt.

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  4. Roger Langford why are you commenting here then? You know that only pushes the feed further? Idiots… Idiots everywhere.

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  5. Most of the 16000 are going to be relocated to other stores. You can boycott Wal mart all you want isn't going to do a damn thing. If it's such a bad place to work why do people keep working there. It's a job may not be the greatest but it is a job some don't have a job these days. I laugh at all the idiots saying they boycott walmart…really ….who cares you don't shop there. I sure dont.

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  6. Boycotting isn't closing stores. Their closing smaller stores but opening more supercenters which I don't believe this article even mentions

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  7. James Job The commie Sean Penn has to hide now. The cartel thinks it is his fault El Chapo got busted.

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  8. James Job The commie Sean Penn has to hide now. The cartel thinks it is his fault El Chapo got busted.

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  11. Its ok to work at Walmart, just dont shop there. The real slavery are the people who make this landfill slash stuff. I hope the people that lost these jobs don't join the military but find a supportive community and more dignified employment in tune with there beauty.

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  14. Roger Langford this site is fn garbage, I agree. I mean it's interesting and what I'd like to hear half the time, but unfortunately they fabricate stories all the fucking time. Dishonest shitbags

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  15. Blake Kirschbaum by continuing to comment here you are only doing the site the favor. Of you don't believe the journalists, why click to begin with? It's a valid question.

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  16. Why do people work there? Lets see ,well, maybe because somebody has too. There are but so many jobs to go around with millions of people in this country. Unfortunately not everyone can be that doctor or lawyer. And even people with degrees some times cant find work in the field they studying for.Eventually that hospital you apply to will have all positions fill that you will have to either keep looking or just settle for whatever because the bills have to get paid and nobody wants to starve. Besides, somebody gotta be that cashier or that janitor,right! Don't they deserve to have livable wages too. I mean I could go on but seriously we gotta look at the big picture. Is not right for anyone to struggle to make ends meet. This is why people are man. Is not like Walmart can't afford to paid people a little more.

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  17. New reality show….."Eat a Walton" …..today's show : grilled or fried?….

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  18. Yes it doesn't bother me and sad that the workers losing their jobs. The Walmart extendeded warranty is a joke. I bought a phone on Black Friday. It has went through 3 sim cards. Now they tell me I need a better quality sim card. They told me to go to Best Buy to get the better quality card. I told them it's the phone hello 3 times don't you think so. I went to Best Buy and they said it was bad phone and surprised that Walmart would send me there.. Really? I bought another phone with them and trashed the bad phone as I can't get them to do anything other than sending me free sim cards every 3-4 weeks in the mail.. I losing money on phone and warranty. I'm not buying no more eletronics or extended warranty from WM.

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  19. I have boycotted Wally-Mart for years. They are about as amoral as a company can get. While I hate to see all these people lose employment, I have absolutely no sorrow for the billionaire Walton family. They are a national disgrace. Worse is how much business they do with China (65%). The Chinese are inhumane barbarias, skinning and plucking animals alive; burnig and boiling animals live. Where on earth did the U.S. find the gall to saddle up with China, a country that not only is barbaric but also is the enemy? Our nation has failed us at far too many levels. Hopefully, those discharged employees will be provided some type of safety net.

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  20. Read an article about a month ago that said their stock had declined 14 billion dollars (or 10%) overnight– due to investors viewing them as a cheap company. (Because they paid most of their employees such a low wage). They lost 14 billion but could have taken 3 billion less in their 18 billion profit and paid all their employees at least $12. an hour.

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  21. Just imagine, if Walmart would smarten up, pay their employees a liveable wage and give them enough hours to allow them to enjoy benefits, Walmart would get massive public and private praise, along with investors confidence and employee & consumer devotion. It would be a win-win for all, including the Walton family! But, alas, the greedy at the top of that company are far too greedy to look beyond profits today. They're far too focused on stealing their employees living wage today and robbing the American citizens through tax breaks and forcing their employees into welfare lines.

    I will be thrilled, when Bernie Sanders holds Walmart and other large corporations and banks accountable, force them to pay their fair share of taxes and force them to pay their employees a liveable wage!

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  22. Roger Langford It's obvious that you barely know anything about communism. Tell me, what exactly about this site makes it communist propoganda?

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  23. “as the company works to invest more money … wage growth for store employees,” reported the Wall Street Journal.

    The Wall Street Journal has a rather sick sense of humour.

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  24. No repair manuals are available for their products. Used to repair TV's and call a company for the manual. Nothing available.

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  25. Wal Mart is not FORCED to do anything, just as applicants are not FORCED to stand in line and apply for a job, every person completing an application for employment understands, up front what position(s) they are applying for and what the compensation for that position is. And here is the huge thing that must be discussed, Wal Mart DOES NOT put your local grocery store out of business, YOU DO, you have the option to continue to patronize your existing local store when WalMart builds a store in your community or to shop WalMart, if everybody continued to shop the local store, they would still be there! Think about it, consumers put their local stores out of business! It is totally their option where to shop!

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  26. Treating workers like shit means shitty work. I often see empty spots on Walmart shelves. And if something isn't there they can't sell it, duh. Things aren't ordered because the employees don't give a damn, so they don't bother reporting it. Also, no one dare go against the great Walmart Computer, even managers – and the computer often says a shelf is full when it's empty. I've literally seen this. I wanted something where there was nothing on the shelf, asked the rare employee, they looked at their computer and said there was six of them there. Well, there was None of them there. I'm sure the employee didn't bother alerting anyone.

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  27. Roger Langford There aren't even commies in Russia anymore, doofus. Try getting out of the past.

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  28. Costco pays well and treats their employees well, and is doing just fine.

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  29. Yeah, those liars refused to refund a defective wifi usb, despite having the receipt because they couldn't find a serial number on the wifi usb. Well, I looked and there IS no serial number on the unit itself, just on the box, so of course they couldn't find it. Second time they screwed me on a valid refund so I'll Never by any expensive electronic item there. I'll go to Best Buy even if it's much farther.

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  30. The real joke, many are not old enough to remember, is that Walmart got its start, and took off, by claiming they only bought Ameican made goods, creating American jobs. Then when they got big they totally reversed that and sent all the jobs to China. You think you save buying cheap Chinese crap from walmart, but it breaks all the time, so you lose time and money either returning it, or buying it again and again. I had bikes that lasted ten years when I was a kid. A Walmart bike might last a year, now.

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  31. and then EVERY company with the ability will pack up and talk the jobs with them, but thankfully that shitbag idiot Sanders isn't going to get elected. America simply isn't that stupid or that lazy just yet.

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  32. As the your statement on your facebook page says it's a double edged sword and it is ALL the fault of stupid worthless pieces shit like the ones that run this page and the worthless piece of shit retards that supports this page. With ANY luck all you motherfuckers will be out of a job and in the streets living inder a bridge.

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  33. Marvin Knoll, the more that Americans learn about Bernie's 34 years serving the public, 24 yrs in national service, fighting for the people against Wall Street, super PACs, large corporation's greed, fighting for universal healthcare, cutting government waste, equality for all citizens and a liveable wage for ALL Americans, the more the citizens support him.

    There's good reason why Bernie's campaign has received TWO MILLION individual contributions, more than ANY other candidate in U.S. history!

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  34. Roger Langford You say Commie like it is an insult. I support Old Bolshevik Lenin/Trotskyist reforms. I also support Bernie Sanders as a figure who will bring about the foundation for such ideas to be embraced in time. Marxist Communism is empowerment of the people. You might want to set down that McCarthyist Koolaid and take a dose of education.

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  35. I bought Asus laptop then crashed every week. Died after 2 months. Now never buy any Asus brand again and not buying any electronic from Walmart anymore. If all Walmart out of business then I feel great. They deserve it for destroying Lechmere, Bradlees, Ames, Zayre, and other stores. If Walmart never built, then Bradlees and Lechmerr are still in business.

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  36. Unless, of course, where you live is economically depressed or there aren't a lot of jobs, then you feel like you have to take what you can/is offered. And B, then, because you're making such shïtty wages, you shop where your money will go the farthest. But, spoken like a true Republican/Conservative, so, we'll done!!!

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  37. Marvin Knoll A store cannot pack up and take the jobs with them. They have to be here to sell to you and they need cashiers and shelf stockers to work for them here. I havn't gone to one in 20 years and lots of others havn't either because they are horrible to work for. Serves them right. You need good will as well as low prices.

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  38. Marvin Doesn't realize that commenting on a website you dislike only helps that site with traffic flow, thus creating the add revenue it takes to pay the writers, and keeping us employed. Thanks for the support Marv!

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  39. Martyn Farr That's the most assinine thing I've ever heard. It's okay to essentiially slave yourself for this giant international conglomerate, but not shop there? Does your inner monolgue not work, or are you that inept to econmics? I really hope they don't join the Military either. But something tells me half the workers wouldn't pass the dox screen, let alone boot camp.
    I'm dumbfounded by how you could consider working for a shitty enterprise, but not shop there?

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  40. Excellent! I think most of us knew their poor management of employees and assets would lead to this.

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  41. THIS IS A NICE WAY OF SAYING THIS IS WHAT YOUR RAISES COST… AS WE WONT LOOSE ANY PROFITS.. SO THEY FIRED 16K EMPLOYEES TO PAY FOR RAISES FOR THE REST AND TO MAINTAIN PROFIT MARGINS…. jUST CALLED THE PEOPLE THEY DISPLACED AND STORES CLOSED AS "UNDERPERFORMING"… SAME THING THEY SAID WHEN THE BUTCHERS ALL TRYED TO UNIONIZE.. THE DEPT WAS "UNDERPERFORMING" SO WE CUT THEM ALL LOOSE AND PREPACKAGE OUR MEATS NOW IN A FACTORY…. sorry caps…

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