CORNING, Ark. – Walmart in Corning will be open to the public for precisely one more month from the date of this article’s publication.
This was confirmed by Anne Hatfield, spokesperson for Walmart, in a conversation with NEA Report on Wednesday morning. She said the store close to the public on Friday, July 20. She also said the pharmacy would be closing to the public on the same day.
“In the meantime, we’re going to work with all of our pharmacy customers to transfer prescriptions to the location of their choosing,” Hatfield said.
Financial performance was the only specific reason given by Hatfield, but she said it was based on a number of different factors.
“This is a tough decision,” Hatfield said.
The closure will affect close to 60 associates – a significant number when you consider Corning’s population is only 3,118, as estimated in the U.S. Decennial Census. 1,553 households are recorded as living in Corning. Population has steadily fallen since 1980, when 3,650 people lived in the township.
“Really, our focus now is on taking care of them,” Hatfield said. “We’re hopeful that the majority of our associates will want to transfer to another location. Right now, we’ll be connecting with each of the associates, identifying transfer opportunities, seeing what their interest is and hopefully, we’ll have a lot of associates who want to transfer. For any associate who doesn’t transfer, they’ll be paid through August 31.”
In addition, Walmart will offer severance for those who are eligible. Full-time hourly associates employed at least one year or part-time associates who have been employed at least five years are eligible, Hatfield said.
Walmart will also be offering resume building and interview skill sessions for anybody interested.
The store was opened in 1978 and held about 32,000 square feet of retail space. This made the store smaller than even the modern Neighborhood Market locations. It’s considered a “Discount Center,” Hatfield described. It does not have a full grocery department and although it does sell some grocery items, the store features mostly general merchandise. Walmart does not own the building. They’re leasing the space, the Walmart spokesperson said.
No new stores are expected fill the void in the lives of Clay County residents who relied on the store. None are expected to be opened in Arkansas in the immediate future, Hatfield said. Instead, Walmart is shifting their focus toward existing stores.
“We don’t have plans to open new stores,” Hatfield said. “Our focus is on improving new stores. We have many existing remodels in the state. We have online grocery pick-up, grocery delivery, the pick-up towers – all of these new ways. Convenience is key. Saving time and money. And so, those investments in the State of Arkansas, that’s where we’re putting a lot of our focus and rolling out these new services that save customers time.”
Below is an official statement from Walmart on the pending closure.
“The decision to close our Corning store is not an easy one, but, as a company, we are committed to continuing our growth and investment in Arkansas. We opened this store in 1978 and we are as proud today as we’ve ever been with how the store leadership and associates have served and contributed to the local community over the years. We are grateful to the customers who have given us the privilege of serving them in Corning. We look forward to continuing to serve them at other area locations and online at walmart.com.”