Last Modified: Saturday, January 16, 2016 8:51 AMWal-Mart officials said Friday that they will close 154 stores in the U.S., including those in Iowa and Lake Arthur.
Jeff Davis Parish Economic Development Director Marion “Butch” Fox said news of the closings caught most off guard.
“It was a shock,” Fox said. “We had no clue. I thought both Wal-Marts (in Lake Arthur and Iowa) were doing great.”
Fox said she had called several Wal-Mart representatives to express her concerns, but had not heard back from anyone as of noon Friday.
The Lake Arthur store, at 620 North La. 26, and the Iowa store, 501 West U.S. 90, will close Jan. 28, according to the company’s website. Other closures in Louisiana include Mamou, Colfax, Clinton, Kentwood, Zwolle and Independence.
Wal-Mart plans to close 102 Wal-Mart Express stores in the U.S., described as the “smallest format stores.” An additional 115 stores outside the U.S. will be closed.
The company said on its website that it looks to boost Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets, along with “growing the e-commerce business and expanding pickup services for customers.”
Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said in an announcement that closing the stores “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,” he said. “So we are committed to growing, but we are being disciplined about it.”
The closure will affect about 16,000 workers, with nearly 10,000 in the U.S., according to the website. It says that “95 percent of the closed stores in the U.S. are within 10 miles on average of another Walmart.”
“The hope is that these associates will be placed in nearby locations,” the announcement reads. “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.”
The Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market at the corner of 12th and Ryan streets is set to open Jan. 20.