Wal-Mart debunks rumors of closing

E-mail circulating throughout state offices claimed store planned to close its doors in March

Posted: Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Wal-Mart denounced wide-circulating rumors Monday that it would be closing its Juneau store next month.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

"At this time we have no plans to close that store," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Ashley Hardie said. "Those are strictly rumors."

An e-mail began circulating throughout state offices last week that the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Lemon Creek would be laying off all its employees and closing its doors in March. The Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development reached out to Wal-Mart to see if the corporation had plans to close the store, the department's communication director Beth Leschper said.

"In this particular case we were assured by Wal-Mart that there are no plans to close the Juneau store," she said.

It is common practice for the department to reach out to communities or businesses when significant layoffs happen or are going to happen, Leschper said. The department provides rapid response teams to help Alaskans get back in the workforce, she said.

"Often times there are other opportunities available and so many times an employee would go from one business on a Friday to another on a Monday, Leschper said. "If that isn't possible, we help with retraining services and a lot of other things."

Hardie would not comment on the sales volume or success of the Juneau Wal-Mart store.

"We don't break out sales or even discuss ... anecdotally our stores, but like I said, we don't have any plans to close that store at this time."

The Wal-Mart Supercenter opened in Juneau in September of 2007 after a significant remodel of the building that previously housed a Super Kmart store. The Kmart store closed in early 2003 following the company filing for bankruptcy.

Hardie was not sure where the rumor started that the Juneau store would be shutting down.

"They are doing some remodeling so there will probably be more information on that later on," she said. "I don't know if that is where the rumors began, but like I said, at this time there is no plan to close the store."

Leschper said she is not aware of any other businesses in Juneau that are closing that could have been mistaken for Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart continues to be one of the world's largest corporations. It was the world's third largest corporation in 2009 with more than $405 billion in revenues, according to the Fortune Global 500.

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