Walmart confirmed plans to close three U.S. stores in July. A Walmart store in Corning, Ark., a town of less than 1,000 people located in the state’s northeast corner, will close July 20, along with locations in Clinton, Ill., and Edna, Texas.
“Our decision to close these stores came after much deliberation and consideration of various business factors,” Walmart spokeswoman Tiffany Wilson said. “With all the change happening in retail today, it is more important than ever to make sure we are meeting customers’ evolving needs. That includes evaluating the performance of our store locations currently serving customers. At the same time, we are making substantial investments in our existing stores and significant investments in technology and innovation to help us better serve our customers and train our associates.”
As of April 23, Walmart U.S. operated 3,550 Supercenters, 704 Neighborhood Markets and 377 of the older format discount stores.
Store No. 235 in Corning is a Supercenter with grocery pickup, pharmacy, photo center and money center. Customers of the pharmacy can transfer their prescriptions to other locations like Pocahontas located 29 miles away or Paragould, about 35 miles away.
“The decision to close a store is not an easy one, but, as a company, we are committed to continuing our growth and investment in Arkansas, Illinois, Texas and beyond,” Wilson added.
The store in Clinton is also an older location as is the Corning store. The population in Clinton is about 7,000 and social media posts from interested parties in Clinton said the largely rural community in central Illinois is “micro-tiny with no other stores around, which is probably why Walmart has propped it up for this long.”
The store in Edna is located southwest of Houston and has served that community of about 5,500 since 1982.
“I’m shocked, totally floored,” Mayor Joe Hermes, who has been on the Edna City Council for about 40 years, told local media. “It’s something that none of us saw coming.”
He said the store is likely the biggest sales tax generator in the town and aside from the loss of sales tax, there are between 70 and 80 jobs being eliminated with the store closure.
Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran has said the retailer continues to evaluate the financial viability of each store. He said closures result when stores are underperforming for a sustained period of time.
As more sales of general merchandise and consumer packaged foods gravitate online, retailers will not need as many stores. Walmart has already scaled back the number of new stores built each year, and the company’s real estate division has also listed land for sale that was previously earmarked for future stores.