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Sam's Club to close 10 stores, four in California

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About 1,500 employees will lose their jobs. Closures include stores in Irvine, La Quinta and Vista.

January 12, 2010|By Andrea Chang

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said Monday that it would close 10 underperforming Sam's Club stores, including four in California.

In the Southland, the warehouse club operator will shut stores in Irvine, La Quinta and Vista. Other closures will include stores in the Sacramento, Houston and Phoenix markets.

Spokeswoman Susan Koehler said the stores are scheduled to close Jan. 22. She said she didn't know why so many California locations were affected.

"It's not related to the economy," she said. "It's just unfortunate poor financial performance throughout the years."

About 1,500 Sam's Club employees will lose their jobs. In a letter to workers on Wal-Mart's website, Sam's Club Chief Executive Brian Cornell said the company was trying to find job openings at other Sam's Club and Wal-Mart locations.

"Despite the outstanding efforts of our associates, these clubs continued to lose money," Cornell said. "We do not make these decisions lightly. . . . We remain committed to opening and operating the best clubs in the warehouse industry, in the right sizes and formats, in locations that make the best use of our capital."

Wal-Mart said it would release the financial details of the closures when it reports its fourth-quarter earnings Feb. 18. In a statement, the company said that the decision "is not expected to have a material adverse impact" on its earnings.

Sam's Club, a division of Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart, operates about 600 U.S. stores. The chain also has locations in Brazil, China, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Shares of Wal-Mart rose 88 cents, or 1.7%, to $54.21.

Last week, department store giant Macy's Inc. and specialty athletic retailer Foot Locker Inc. also announced closures. No Macy's stores in California were affected; Foot Locker declined to specify which stores would close.

andrea.chang@latimes.com

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