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Two Of Seven SoCal Wal-Marts Will Close For Last Time Today

About 16,000 employees are expected to be impacted by the Wal-Mart closures (Thinkstock).
About 16,000 employees are expected to be impacted by the worldwide Wal-Mart closures (Thinkstock).

Two of the seven Wal-Mart stores scheduled for closure in Southern California as part of a corporate restructuring will shut their doors for the last time today.

The Wal-Mart superstore at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza is among 269 locations being closed worldwide, the discount retailer announced Friday.

A Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market on West Cesar Chavez Avenue in Chinatown is also closing today.   The Baldwin Hills store opened in 2003 and replaced a Macy’s department store, which closed in 1999.

“Wal-Mart fought so hard to get a foothold in our community, yet has so easily decided to pack up and leave without much notice … to its shoppers or its employees,” Laphonza Butler, president of SEIU Local 2015, told the Los Angeles Sentinel.

Chinatown’s Wal-Mart opened in 2013.

George Yu, executive director of the Chinatown business improvement district, said residents there waited 25 years for a full-service grocery store.

“Every community needs a grocery store,” Yu told the Los Angeles Times, “especially in a community that is so mass-transit oriented.”

Five other Southern California Wal-Marts — in downtown Long Beach, Hawaiian Gardens, Bell Gardens, Altadena and San Bernardino — will close on Jan. 28.

“Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business,” Wal-Mart Stores Inc. President/CEO Doug McMillon said during Friday’s announcement. “Closing stores is never an easy decision, but it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future.

“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.”

About 16,000 employees are expected to be impacted by the closures. But most of the stores being closed are within 10 miles of another Wal-Mart and many of the displaced workers are expected to be relocated to jobs at those stores.   Employees who have not been placed in new jobs by Feb. 10 will receive 60 days pay. If after that 60 days they still have not been placed in new jobs, they will receive a severance package equal to one week’s pay for every year they have been with the company, according to Wal-Mart spokeswoman Delia Garcia.

There are nearly 11,600 Walmart stores around the world, ranging from smaller Walmart Express stores to Neighborhood Markets, Walmarts, Walmart Supercenters and Sam’s Club warehouse outlets.

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