Walmart is closing an east Charlotte grocery store

Walmart said Tuesday that it’s closing the Neighborhood Market store on Independence Boulevard.

The store’s final day in business will be March 3. In a statement, Walmart said pharmacy customers can continue to get their prescription filled at the location until that time. The company said the “difficult decision” to close the store came “after rigorous review and consideration of various factors.”

Store employees, of whom there are about 95, will have the opportunity to transfer to other Walmart locations, the company said, including to the two other Neighborhood Market stores in Charlotte. Walmart opened another Neighborhood Market on North Tryon Street near Interstate 485 in November.

“We are optimistic that any associate that wants to continue their career at Walmart will have the opportunity to do so,” the company’s statement said.

According to media reports, Walmart is trimming its Neighborhood Market stores in several other locations as well. A Marietta, Ga., store is set to close March 3, and a Chicago store is closing Jan. 25.

Walmart opened its first Neighborhood Market in Charlotte in 2013, in the Independence Boulevard location. The store was a former Best Buy, and an international grocer, Super Global Mart, already operated in the shopping center.

The Neighbhorhood Market stores are about the same size as traditional supermarkets. They represent an attempt by Walmart, already a major grocer, to compete with supermarkets more directly. Charlotte’s grocery market is becoming increasingly crowded, with new entrants such as Publix Super Markets and German discounter Lidl opening stores while longtime stalwarts such as Harris Teeter expand as well.

Walmart’s Neighborhood Market was the Charlotte-area’s No. 10 grocer last year by market share, according to Chain Store Guide, a sales-tracking firm.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo