Sam’s Club closings leaves seafood suppliers in the lurch
Walmart abruptly closed 63 of its Sam’s Club stores across the United States on Thursday, 11 January, leaving a plethora of seafood suppliers scrambling.
Sam’s Club previously operated 660 stores in 47 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.
"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,” Sam’s Club said via its Twitter account. “Closing clubs is never easy, and we're committed to working with impacted members and associates through this transition."
The closures represent a significant lost market for a multitude of private-label and branded seafood suppliers. Sam’s Club sells a wide variety of Member’s Market private label seafood, including frozen snow crab legs and claws, frozen raw and cooked shrimp, and prepared items such as crab cakes and lobster bisque.
Branded seafood suppliers that sell products in Sam’s Club stores include Morey’s, SeaPak, C. Wirthy & Co., Sea Cuisine, and San Francisco Foods.
Three of the closed stores are in Puerto Rico, Business Insider reported, while several stores in Alaska, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, New York, Texas, Washington, and a handful of additional states have closed.
However, 10 of the affected stores will be turned into e-commerce distribution centers, and employees of those stores will have the opportunity to reapply for positions at those locations, a Walmart official told Business Insider.
In some cases, employees were not told their store about their stores’ closing before they showed up to work on Thursday, Business Insider reported. Other employees were contacted via FedEx notices.