Wal-Mart is closing 269 stores, more than half of them in the U.S. and another big chunk in its challenging Brazilian market.
The stores being shuttered account for a fraction of the company's 11,000 stores worldwide and less than 1 percent of its global revenue.
The closures will affect 16,000 workers, 10,000 of them in the U.S.
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"The decision to close stores is difficult and we care about the associates who will be impacted," said Wal-Mart president and CEO Doug McMillon. "We invested considerable time assessing our stores and clubs and don’t take this lightly. We are supporting those impacted with extra pay and support, and we will take all appropriate steps to ensure they are treated well."
The announcement comes three months after McMillon told investors the world's largest retailer would review its store fleet in amid increasing competition from all fronts, including from online rival Amazon.com.
In the U.S., 154 locations will be closed, most of them small format stores called Walmart Express, which were launched as a test program in 2011. It wasn't immediately clear which stores will close and if any are in the Philadelphia region.
The remaining 115 locations to close are spread over Latin America, mostly in Brazil.
"Closing stores is never an easy decision, but it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future," said McMillon. "It’s important to remember that we’ll open well more than 300 stores around the world next year. So we are committed to growing, but we are being disciplined about it."