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Walmart to close 269 stores, lay off 16,000 employees

Walmart to close 269 stores, lay off 16,000 employees

Retail giant Walmart Stores, Inc. on Friday announced plans to close 269 stores and lay off 16,000 employees, including 6,000 of them outside the U.S.

In a news release, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said it would close its 154 stores in the U.S. and 115 others abroad.

The company is shutting down 60 stores in Brazil, a market in which the world’s largest retailer has made a big push in recent years, the release said.

The company said it had already been able to “relocate” most of the employees affected by the store closings to other points of sale.

The other 55 stores to be closed outside the United States are mostly “small, loss-making stores in other Latin American markets,” the release said.

The U.S. closures also include seven stores in Puerto Rico (affecting 400 workers), where the retailer — the island’s largest with 55 establishments and 15,000 employees — sued the local government last month over a sharp rise in a tax on goods flowing from the group’s distribution centres in the mainland United States to its subsidiary in the U.S. commonwealth.

Also Friday, Walmart announced that as many as 405 new stores would be opened worldwide during the next fiscal year, with a focus on large warehouse stores and suburban areas.