"I thought, 'this is really cool.' And then to find out that my store is closing," said Fitz, who said she had worked as a sales associate in the jewelry department for two months.

At home, she got a call from her manager and had a letter in the mail saying the store had closed and she could seek employment at another Sam's Club or Walmart store. "I don't think our managers had any inkling yesterday.

The world's largest private employer said it was closing 63 of its 660 Sam's Clubs over the next weeks, with some shut already.

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In all, Walmart employs 2.3 million people around the world, 1.5 million of which are in the U. Salaried employees, who already had 10 weeks paid maternity leave, will receive more paid parental leave.

For the first time, Walmart also promised to help with adoptions, offering full-time hourly and salaried workers $5,000 per child that can be used for expenses such as adoption agency fees, translation fees and legal or court costs.

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With Thursday's closing, that strategy is now extending to Sam's Club.

Online retailers typically pay warehouse employees who pack and ship orders more than store jobs pay.

Job postings at an Amazon warehouse in Ohio, for example, offer a starting pay of .50 an hour.

"This is about the evolution of retail," said Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute.

Walmart, which reported annual revenue of nearly 6 billion in the most recent fiscal year, said the wage increases will cost it an additional 0 million in the next fiscal year.