Several national business news sources are reporting that at least 63 Sam's Club discount retail stores were abruptly closed Thursday with little or no notice to company employees.
Walmart is in the early phase of assessing all opportunities that could benefit its employees and customers based on the tax reform bill. The change will give full-time hourly workers at Walmart stores the same maternity- and parental-leave benefits as the company's salaried employees.
Elsewhere, a Memphis Sam's Club location closed its doors in an announcement made to employees Thursday morning.
"We've made the difficult decision to close our Lumberton Sam's Club location", Phil Keene, who works out of the corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, said.
"Our hope is that many associates will choose to stay with the company via transfer and we'll begin working to make that happen".
In addition to the minimum wage increase and bonuses, Walmart announced other benefit increases. The additions have included Costco stores in Middleton and Sun Prairie, a Walmart Supercenter in Monona and the addition of Target stores with grocery in Sun Prairie, Fitctburg and on Junction Road in Madison.
The lowest starting pay for Walmart workers previously was $9 an hour, increasing to $10 after 90 days following completion of a training program.
In a press release, Walmart stated the action was taken after a thorough performance review.
The Fern Park location is also scheduled to close.
A total of 63 Sam's Club locations nationwide will be closing.
Walmart's promised big payout of $1,000 is somewhat illusory: To be eligible, an employee must have worked for the company for more than 20 years, a highly unusual tenure in the big-box retail industry.
The country's largest private employer, which has more than 1 million hourly workers, said the changes were motivated in part by anticipated savings from the newly passed tax plan, which offers sweeping tax cuts for corporations. "We'll convert some of them into e-commerce fulfillment centers - to better serve the growing number of members shopping with us online and continue scaling the SamsClub.com business". The bonus will be determined by the employees' length of service. Put another way, the new increment is equivalent to just 0.3 percent of the company's sales and administration costs. "I did not know that and here is other customers pulling up too".