“Rapid Response” for Laid Off Juneau Walmart Employees; Ketchikan Store Remains Open
By MARY KAUFFMAN
January 21, 2016
“The decision to close stores is difficult and we care about the associates who will be impacted,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “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.”
The Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Juneau Job Center announced today it will be providing Rapid Response assistance for approximately 168 Walmart employees who are being laid off on February 10th. The Juneau Job Center is holding a job fair for Walmart employees on January 29th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and they also can come by any other time the office is open to receive one-on-one assistance with finding a new job. Juneau’s Walmart is one of 154 stores in the U.S. and 115 stores globally that will close.
“Our Job Center staff are doing everything they can to help laid off Walmart employees find new jobs,” said Heidi Drygas, Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development. “These are our friends and neighbors, and I encourage Walmart employees to come by the Job Center and find out what resources can help with their job search.”
The Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced it is offering Rapid Response services in response to the mass layoffs in Juneau. Rapid Response services for laid off Walmart employees include:
In October 2015, Walmart announced an active review of their portfolio was underway to ensure assets were aligned with strategy. January's action to close stores 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.”
Walmart announced on January 15, 2016, that 154 locations in the U.S. will close, 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.
McMillon, president and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores said, Walmart is not closing stores and clubs because of Walmart’s investment in wages. He said the decision is about managing Walmart's portfolio smartly. "Our investment in associate wages and training is a long-term investment that is already paying off."
Consistent with this strategy, the Walmart announced it is closing 115 stores outside the United States. This includes 60 recently-closed, loss-making stores in Brazil, which represents only 5 percent of sales in that market. The company has already been able to relocate many affected associates in Brazil to other stores. The remaining 55 stores are primarily small, loss-making stores in other Latin American markets. Walmart will disclose more detail about those actions, including the number of stores per market, after completing local associate and community outreach.
Walmart will continue to invest in its future, with plans to open more stores worldwide in the coming fiscal year. Domestically, Walmart intends to open 50 to 60 Supercenters and 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets in Fiscal 2017, which begins Feb. 1. In the same period, Sam’s Club plans to open in seven to 10 new locations. Internationally, Walmart intends to open between 200 and 240 stores during 2016.
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.
In total, approximately 16,000 Walmart 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 it is Walmart's hope 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 said their objective is to help all associates find their next job opportunity.
With fiscal year 2015 revenue of $485.7 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.2 million associates worldwide. Each week, Walmart reports that nearly 260 million customers and members visit Walmart's nearly 11,600 stores.
For those needing more information about Rapid Response services for laid off Walmart employees in Juneau, contact the Juneau Job Center.
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