AUSTRALIA’S largest retailer has announced it will close 1.7 million Australian stores and will phase out its online shopping business.
Key points:Walmart said online shopping would not be allowed in some storesWalmart has been struggling to regain its competitive position after the closure of some stores last yearWalmart will also stop selling goods in some of the country’s biggest sporting eventsWalmart’s decision is a major blow to its rival Aldi, which has also shut storesThe retail giant said online sales will be allowed at some stores, but it will stop selling food and other essentials, as well as items such as clothing, furniture and electronics.
“Our commitment to our customers is strong and we remain committed to a strong retail business for our stores, which are home to some of Australia’s most passionate and loyal customers,” a statement on Walmart’s website said.
“This decision is not about us or the business we operate.
This decision is about delivering on our core value proposition and providing our customers with the best value for their money.”
The closure of stores will have an immediate impact on some customers who have been relying on Walmarts stores for their food, groceries, entertainment and home delivery services.
Key point:Retail giant Walmart is considering closing more than 1.1 million stores around the country in the wake of the closure last year of some of its Australian storesWalmarts Australia said it will make further announcements in coming weeks.
“Walmart Australia’s core value is to provide a comfortable and secure shopping experience for our customers,” the statement said.
But it added that it was also committed to making store closures sustainable, and the company was making plans to “take action to maintain the company’s position”.
“While this announcement does not affect any existing stores or any future operations, it does represent an impact on the store network and will impact the current and future store closures that we are planning for the coming weeks,” the company said.
It added that “a small number” of stores had been impacted by last year’s closures.
“In the past, we have made investments in our Australian retail network to support our business and we continue to invest in our operations to ensure we are able to meet the needs of our customers and ensure that our stores are operating in a sustainable manner.”‘
We’re going to be looking for a new business model’Walmart was founded in the 1980s and has since grown to become one of the world’s biggest retailers with stores in Australia and overseas.
But its popularity with Australian consumers has waned in recent years, with many seeing the retailer as too expensive for their budget.
In December, the retailer announced a plan to close its 500 stores and to make the business more profitable by reducing its prices.
Its CEO Tim Walzenegger said the decision was “long overdue” and that it had “reached a point where we are no longer in a position to provide the same value for our shareholders”.
“In fact, in terms of the current price structure, we’re going the wrong way in terms to deliver on that,” he told ABC News Breakfast in December.
“We’re not going to do a better job than we did before.”
In November, Mr Walzinger said he had “not seen a single customer” complaining about the store closures, despite the company admitting it had been struggling with the cost of running its Australian operations.
“The bottom line is we’ve got to do the right thing, we’ve been looking at what our next steps are, and our next move is going to involve a new way of doing business,” he said.’
A bit of a distraction’Walm’s decision comes after a series of other stores closed, including the popular Foot Locker chain, the Home Improvement chain, and HomeGoods, which was owned by Mr Walzer’s brother.
Last month, Mr Alsop’s announced it was closing its 250 stores across Australia, with the majority of the stores to be in Melbourne and Adelaide.AAP