(RNN) – Walmart shuttered Sam’s Club locations throughout the country Thursday.
A Walmart official says the company is closing 53 Sam’s Club stores and converting 10 others into fulfillment centers across the country, according to the superstore's Twitter account.
There were reports of stores closing in more than 10 states, including Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Three stores in Puerto Rico also closed.
The company tweeted that the company reviewed their portfolio and closing clubs, which is what they call stores, to "better align our locations with our strategy. Closing clubs is never easy and we're committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition."
All Sam’s Club locations in Alaska are closing, KTVA TV reported.
Jessica Buckner, an audit team lead at the Sam’s Club location in the Tikahtnu Commons, said all Alaska stores are closing as part of a larger downsizing across the United States.
Diana Leavitt Lanham, of Loveland, OH, said she worked at Sam’s Club for three years as an overnight stocker before she was terminated Thursday.
Lanham said about 10:30 a.m. FedEx delivered an envelope with a letter regarding the store closing.
“It said effective immediately that our store is closed,” said Lanham, a mother of three. “No one had any idea. People showed up for work not knowing that anything was going on.”
Lanham who worked Wednesday night said she was shocked and saddened by the notice.
“There were 143 people who woke up this morning or worked third shift just to find out that they no longer have a job,” Lanham said.
The letter said the closing would be permanent and advised employees to transfer to another Sam’s Club, Walmart or find employment elsewhere.
Lanham said she has bills to pay and hasn’t decided on her next move.
The closing of a store in New Jersey caught one family by surprise.
With the closings also came concerns about prescriptions at Sam's Club pharmacies.
Pharmacies will stay open for at least two weeks, and we will work with each state’s Board of Pharmacy to help guide this transition.— Sam's Club (@SamsClub) January 11, 2018
The move came on the same day that Walmart boosted starting pay to $11 an hour and offered one-time bonuses to some of its employees.
Some members are asking for refunds for their membership. Ashley Zimmerman asked the company on via Twitter about her membership, which she had renewed last month for 100.
She tweeted at the company that she renewed her membership for $100 last month and wanted a refund.
The company sent her a direct message via Twitter that was a link to cancel her membership, and offered her three months extended membership or full refund in the form of an e-gift card that will take seven days to deliver, or a check that will take six weeks for delivery.
There are more than 650 Sam’s Club locations across the U.S and Puerto Rico.
The company hasn't said much about the reasons or given much explanation. The official Twitter account often retweets the same statement about the closing, or sends out a link to the store locator map.
After a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we’ve decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy. Closing clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition.— Sam's Club (@SamsClub) January 11, 2018
Communities began getting word of the closings Thursday morning.
Irondale, AL, was one of them.
Employees also got word in Baton Rouge, LA.
I feel so, so bad for those Cortana Sam’s Club employees here in BR that went to work this am only to find out they were now unemployed...right after the holidays.— Sam Ross (@samrossdesigns) January 11, 2018
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