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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Just hours after announcing they were boosting starting salaries for workers and giving a $1,000 cash bonus, Walmart is reportedly closing dozens of Sam’s Club stores.
CBS News reports that Walmart is closing at least 63 stores nationwide, including all stores in Alaska.
Business Insider reports so far have at least 63 stores on the list of closures.
Many of the stores closed abruptly today, with others slated to close on Jan. 26.
As of now, no Pittsburgh stores are on the list to close.
No formal announcement had been posted Thursday morning by Sam’s Club, but the company acknowledged the closures on Twitter with a general statement.
The company drew criticism from people on Twitter who objected to the lack of notice about the closings.
The closings come on the same day that Walmart announced it is raising its starting wage, adding new benefits, and giving a bonus to eligible employees.
“I’m glad to hear it for the people who are employed there,” said Walmart shopper Tovanna Vasser of Mt. Washington.
For those still working, beginning in February, Walmart starting wage rises to $11/hour; paid maternity leave expands to ten weeks and paid parental leave to six weeks; employees adopting get a $5,000 adoption benefit, and employees of two years or more will get a bonus of $250 dollars to $1,000, depending on years of service.
Walmart’s decision to raise its minimum wage from $10 to $11 an hour is a corporate decision alone.
No government is making them do that.
In fact, in Pennsylvania, the state’s minimum wage — set at $7.25 — has not been raised, believe it or not, since 2009.
Walmart credits the Republican tax bill for being able to do this, but skeptics like Point Park University business Prof. Elaine Luther don’t buy it.
“The pressure is out there to get better employees because other states have already raised the minimum wage, and the demand is really high for workers because the economy is growing,” Luther told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Thursday.
Stores like Target have already moved to $11 an hour.
Not all Walmart shoppers think this will benefit consumers.
“When wages go up, prices go up. The money has to come from somewhere,” says Linda Smith of Steubenville, who doesn’t credit the tax bill.
And given what happened at Sam’s Clubs with lay-offs, some shoppers are skeptical.
“Talking to a young lady checking out, there’s a lot of people in this store and a lot of stores that’ll be losing their jobs,” says Tom Vesovich of Turtle Creek. “Walmart can give $11 an hour but how many people will be working?”
Business Insider has a running list of Sam’s Club stores that are slated to be closed.