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Only late in the day - in a reply to a question someone asked on Twitter - did Sam's Club say that 53 stores were closing and 10 being converted to fulfillment centers.

On Thursday, January 11, 2018 customers were being turned away from the 44th Avenue location in Moline and employees were spotted standing outside the membership-only warehouse store.

Seven of these stores are in IL, reports WGN, many in the Chicago-area.

The company told Business Insider that some stores have already closed down without warning on Thursday.

They reportedly showed up to their Sam's Club workplace and found that its doors were locked and there was a notice announcing the closure.

Sam's Club, also owned by Wal-Mart, employs 200 people in the city.

"We know this is hard news for our associates and we are working to place as many of them as possible at nearby locations", John Furner, president and CEO of Sam's Club, said in the statement. "We will work to place as many associates as possible in new roles at nearby locations, and we'll provide them with support, resources, and severance pay to those eligible".

With the closings also came concerns about prescriptions at Sam's Club pharmacies.

WQAD News 8 is working to get in touch with Moline's planning and development director about the situation. The U.S. supermarket chain's extra spending on hourly wages is just a sliver of what it could save in tax, though - and a tight labor market is likely to have been a more potent driver.

Lately, much of the talk about Walmart's showdown with Amazon.com Inc. has centered on the old-school retailer building stronger e-commerce muscles.

Wal-Mart Says It Will Boost Wages, Give Bonuses With New Savings From Tax Law Wal-Mart plans to share part of its savings under the new tax law with its employees. If Walmart is pouring the benefits of the tax cut into worker pockets rather than investment or placating shareholders, that's because the company thinks it needs to to survive.

But that is a reasonable risk for Sam's Club to take.

If you are one of the majority of people who do not work at Walmart, why should you care about this?

The letter said the closing would be permanent and advised employees to transfer to another Sam's Club, Walmart or find employment elsewhere. Full-time hourly and salaried workers will also receive 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave.

With its announcement Thursday, Walmart did not mention the difficulty employers are having finding and retaining workers in the retail industry.

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