Wal-Mart to close 269 stores, including 17 in North Carolina

Shoppers in Wal-Mart Supercenter store in Springdale, Ark.
Shoppers in Wal-Mart Supercenter store in Springdale, Ark. AP

Wal-Mart said Friday that in a move to save money, it will close 269 stores, a move that will result in 16,000 job cuts. The retailer is closing its entire small-format Express chain, which has one in the Charlotte region and 16 stores total in North Carolina.

In the U.S., 154 stores total will close, Bentonville, Ark.-based company said in a statement Friday. In addition to the 102 Express stores that will close, 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 Supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers and four Sam’s Clubs will close their doors.

Wal-Mart’s move affects only one store in the Charlotte metro area, a Wal-Mart Express in Richfield, which is about 45 miles northeast of Charlotte. It will close to the public Jan. 17, according to Wal-Mart. North Carolina’s only Supercenter to close is in Durham, and it will close Jan. 28.

Internationally, Wal-Mart is shuttering 115 stores, including 60 money-losing stores in Brazil that have already closed. The other 55 stores are primarily small, unprofitable stores in other Latin American markets, Wal-Mart said.

Wal-Mart’s closures come after a review that began in October of the chain’s 11,600 stores to assess their financial performance and alignment with its broader strategy.

The move also marks the end of its pilot Wal-Mart Express program, a bid to create a network of small corner stores that began in 2011, Bloomberg reported. Wal-Mart will continue with its Supercenters and its larger-size Neighborhood Markets concept.

The Neighborhood Market is Wal-Mart’s version of a traditional grocery store. The retailer has been expanding the concept rapidly throughout the Charlotte region, adding to the already competitive local grocery market.

“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,” Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon said.

The closures will reduce earnings from continuing operations by about 20 cents to 22 cents a share, with as much as 20 cents of that coming in the fourth quarter, Wal-Mart said. Bloomberg News contributed.