Despite Walmart closing 269 stores around the world in a strategic move to focus more on its supercenters and e-commerce business, the largest Walmart in Kentuckiana is still under constuction and still planned for Salem.
Salem Mayor Troy Merry confirmed on Friday that the project was still on and not affected by the closures.
In fact, there are no Walmart stores closings in Indiana or Kentucky.
The closures include 154 U.S. locations, encompassing Walmart’s entire fleet of 102 “Express” format stores, its smallest locations meant to compete with dollar stores, which have been in pilot testing since 2011.
Some supercenters, Sam’s Club locations and Neighborhood Markets will also close, plus 115 stores in Latin American markets.
The closures were decided based on financial performance and how well the locations fit with Walmart’s broader strategy, says Greg Hitt, a company spokesman.
Walmart has been working aggressively to grow its e-commerce presence and digital services, plus upgrade stores and provide shoppers with a more pleasant experience. In that vein, the company has also been making a big push to increase wages and provide more training to employees, an effort that’s costing more than $1 billion.
The store closures, which represent less than 1% of global revenue from Walmart’s nearly 11,600 stores worldwide, will allow the retailer to step up its digital and in-store initiatives, Hitt says.
In a statement, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the company is “committed to growing, but we are being disciplined about it.” Walmart plans to open more than 300 stores in the coming fiscal year.
Ground was broken in 2015 on the 151,000 square foot structure.
The Walmart Supercenter will be located on Kimball Drive, off Hackberry Street (State Road 56 East).
The company plans to employee between 300 and 400 people.
Rick Hayes of BRR Architecture said the firm is excited to be in the county and said the new store will be about the length of two football fields and will include an auto center, a garden center and a pharmacy that will have a drive up window.
Customers will enter the store off Kimball Drive and they are hoping to eventually have a traffic light at the intersection of Kimball Drive and Hackberry Street. The Indiana Department of Transportation has also planned a second light to the East at Coral Street.
Randall Hake of Cedarwood Development, a national real estate company, told the standing room only crowd in the city hall council room that construction will begin in late spring 2014, with an open date of fall 2015. That has been delayed to later this year.
The 27 acre site will also leave room for additional retailers, restaurants and financial institutions to build.