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Walmart giveth, Walmart taketh away and then BJ's giveth

Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart Stores Inc., announced the closure of 63 clubs around the country. The news came the same day Walmart announced plans to increase the starting wage rate for all hourly associates, expand maternity and parental leave benefits, and a one-time cash bonus for eligible associates. BJ's Wholesale Club, which operates 180 stores in in 15 states, is reportedly happy to use this as an opportunity to bolster its staff.

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"[We've] had numerous inquiries from Sam's Club employees," BJ's said in a statement to CNN. "BJ's Wholesale Club is hiring, and anyone interested in joining our team can go to bjs.com/careers or visit their local club." The chain also "had an immediate increase in Sam's Club members joining BJ's Wholesale Club," according to the statement.

Walmart will convert up to 12 of the impacted Sam's stores to eCommerce fulfillment centers in a move that it hopes will speed delivery of online orders, with the balance of the facilities closing over the next few weeks. Currently, Sam’s Club operates 660 stores, but that number will be reduced by about 10 percent after the actions announced today.

“Transforming our business means managing our real estate portfolio and Walmart needs a strong fleet of Sam’s Clubs that are fit for the future,” said John Furner, president and chief executive officer of Sam’s Club. “We know this is difficult news for our associates and we are working to place as many of them as possible at nearby locations. Our focus today has been on those associates and their communities, and communicating with them.”

The first of these converted eCommerce fulfillment centers will be located in Memphis, TN.

Walmart will provide support and resources to those associates who are affected, including the bonus and 60 days of pay, as well as severance to those eligible.
“We need great people to help lead us into the future and we hope that many of them will stay with the company at either a local store or club,” Furner said. “Change is never easy, but we’re making these decisions as part of running a healthy business.”