Walmart Express in Ellaville to close

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, January 21, 2016

From Staff Reports

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. recently announced plans to close 269 stores in the U.S. and globally. One of those, a Walmart Neighborhood Market, is located in Ellaville, having been open for about a year.
Ellaville Mayor David Theiss commented on the closure.
“Ellaville and Schley County have seen an increase in sales tax and SPLOST receipts since the Walmart Express opened,” he told the Americus Times-Recorder. “This was probably mostly due to out of county customers and we hope that our local merchants can keep some of that retail traffic coming to Ellaville. Walmart has promised their employees reassignment or severance pay, but we will miss the boost in employment. We hope the building they leave behind will find a new occupant. Maybe a local entrepreneur can find a new use for it and ‘home grow’ a new business to benefit the community.”
The Ellaville location is one of seven closures in Georgia.
This latest action follows a thorough review of Walmart’s nearly 11,600 worldwide stores that took into account a number of factors, including financial performance as well as strategic alignment with long-term plans. In total, the impacted stores represent less than 1 percent of both global square footage and revenue.
“Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “Closing stores is never an easy decision, but it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future. It’s important to remember that we’ll open well more than 300 stores around the world next year. So we are committed to growing, but we are being disciplined about it.”
As part of this action, the company will close 154 locations in the U.S., including the company’s 102 smallest format stores, Walmart Express, which had been in pilot since 2011. Walmart instead will focus on strengthening Supercenters, optimizing Neighborhood Markets, growing the e-commerce business and expanding Pickup services for customers. Also covered in the closures are 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 Supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers, and four Sam’s Clubs.
In total, approximately 16,000 associates will be impacted by the decision, about 10,000 of them in the U.S. More than 95 percent of the closed stores in the U.S. are within 10 miles on average of another Walmart, and the hope is that these associates will be placed in nearby locations. Where that isn’t possible, the company will provide 60 days of pay and, if eligible, severance, as well as resume and interview skills training. Whether with Walmart or elsewhere, the company’s objective is to help all associates find their next job opportunity.
“The decision to close stores is difficult and we care about the associates who will be impacted,” McMillon said. “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.”