Wal-Mart says it is closing 63 Sam's Club locations nationwide and converting as many as 12 of them to e-commerce fulfillment centers.

“Transforming our business means managing our real estate portfolio and Walmart needs a strong fleet of Sam’s Clubs that are fit for the future,” says John Furner, president and chief executive officer of Sam’s Club. “We know this is difficult news for our associates, and we are working to place as many of them as possible at nearby locations. Our focus today has been on those associates and their communities, and communicating with them.”

The first converted e-commerce center will be in Memphis, Tennessee.

After multiple reports from local news outlets  on Thursday of Sam's Club locations being abruptly closed, the company first responded on Twitter.


A local news report from Houston said Sam's Club employees there were not aware of the closing until they showed up for work.

The news comes after Wal-Mart announced it would use savings from the recent tax legislation to raise employee's starting wages and offer bonuses to staff.

Furner says the company will provide support and resources for employees affected by the store closings.

“We need great people to help lead us into the future and we hope that many of them will stay with the company at either a local store or club,” he says. “Change is never easy, but we’re making these decisions as part of running a healthy business.”