The announcement of the closures come the same day parent company Walmart said it would raise starting pay to $11 an hour and hand out cash bonuses as a result of the federal tax overhaul.
Sam’s Club said the closures were about striking a balance between their bricks-and-mortar and online business.
About 10 of the closing stores, including one in Memphis, Tenn., will be converted to e-commerce facilities handling growing online sales, joining two existing fulfillment centers in New Jersey and Texas, Hatfield said.
Sam’s Club has been a major player in the Chicago area’s grocery industry for years, with more than 6 percent market share in 2016, according to the most recent data available from Chain Store Guide.
The growth of online grocery shopping has long lagged behind other retail, mostly because of the inherent challenges of shipping fresh food.