DETROIT (AP/WWJ) - Walmart is closing 269 stores, more than half of them in the U.S. and another big chunk in its challenging Brazilian market.
Only two Michigan stores are on the chopping block: The supercenter on Highland Road, M-59, in Hartland (closing Jan. 28), and the Sam's Club on Summit Drive in Waterford (closing Feb. 5).
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.
This is a prime example, according to WWJ Business Editor Murray Feldman, of how globalization can backfire.
"Any company that is global — which is every company nowadays — is going to be hit by that," Feldman said.
"We see problems overseas. We also see a strong value of the U.S. dollar. That's great if you want to take a trip overseas — you dollar's gonna buy more — but it's terrible for companies that do business there, because American products cost more there."
The announcement comes three months after its CEO Doug 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.
Feldman says these retail closures are nothing new for an industry that is changing because of the Internet.
"Macy's is realigning, we understand that Kmart and Sears are paring some stores down — and now Walmart, of course, has been the giant and it's not anymore," Feldman said. "They're struggling like everyone else to figure out how to get the best out of the consumer."
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. The remaining 115 locations to close are spread over Latin America, mostly in Brazil.
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