Dozens of Sam’s Club stores across the nation suddenly closed Thursday. Three of them are in the Houston area, including the store near NRG Park.
Signs were posted on the gas pumps and the store’s front door first thing in the morning.
“I’m kind of upset about it,” said one customer, or member. “This one is close to everything.”
“I’m surprised they didn’t tell anybody anything,” said another customer.
It appears neither customers nor employees got any advance warning.
“It’s kind of disappointing because Sam’s is a good store."
Sam’s Club responded to questions on social media as news of the closures blew up.
“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,” said a tweet by the company. “Closing clubs is never easy and we’re committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition.”
One 16 year employee of the South Loop store, who didn’t want to be identified, is trying to stay positive.
“There are plenty of Sam’s Clubs, plenty of Walmarts you can transfer to,” he said. “They’re making sure everyone is being taken care of as far as pay.”
We’re told laid off employees will be paid for 60 days and have an opportunity to apply for transfers.
“They have a lot of locations, so I think it’ll be okay,” one club member. “I just hate to see vacant buildings around, so that’s one of the things I hope gets taken care of.”
A handful of shuttered Sam’s Clubs will reportedly be converted into distribution centers for Walmart’s e-commerce operation.
Here are the three Houston area Sam’s Club stores being closed:
- 1615 S Loop W, Houston
- 13331 Westheimer, Houston
- 22296 Market Place Dr, New Caney
According to Walmart, the only other Texas store impacted by the closures is in San Antonio. KENS-TV in San Antonio reports the store may reopen temporarily to sell off inventory at a discount before it closes again for good.
Sam's responded to concerned customers on Twitter with the following statement:
"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 also tweeted options for customers who have annual memberships they can no longer use because their store closed.
The news comes the same day Sam's parent company, Walmart, announced raises and an increase in benefits for some employees.