Hours after Walmart announced it would raise its minimum wage to $11 and gift longtime employees with one-time bonuses worth $1,000, the company quietly shuttered Sam’s Club locations across the country without prior warning. As a result, thousands of Sam’s Club employees in Texas, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Arizona, and Alaska discovered they no longer had a job. According to Business Insider, the store closures on Thursday are only the beginning, as additional Sam’s Club locations will be shut down “at a later date.”
Walmart did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. However, the official Sam’s Club Twitter account began issuing the same response to individuals who tweeted at, or about, the unannounced store closures. “After a thorough review of our existing portfolio,” the message read, “we’ve decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy.”
Meanwhile, a CBS affiliate in Anchorage, Alaska spoke with Sam’s Club employee Jessica Buckner about the shutterings. After confirming that all of the state’s Sam’s Club locations would be closing, she added, “From what I heard, there’s over 260 stores [across the coutnry] that have been closed down.” According to CNN’s Jeremy Diamond, Thursday’s apparent bait-and-switch mirrors what happened with AT&T’s mid-December announcement that 200,000 of its employees would get bonuses thanks to Trump’s tax reform bill. At the same time (and quietly), thousands of layoffs were also announced.