Walmart Inc. is closing all of its company-owned automotive centers in Canada. The company has operated tire and lube centers in about a quarter of its Canadian locations.
The news was first reported by media outlets in Canada, but Walmart has confirmed the details to Auto Service Professional.
And when asked about the status of its U.S. Auto Care Centers, a spokesperson for Walmart said the decision is specific to the company’s Canadian business.
With 408 stores in Canada, Walmart said it is closing 106 Tire, Lube and Express locations. “In some of our stores, we will continue to have a partnership with Mr. Lube.”
The closure affects approximately 550 employees, and Walmart says it expects to retain “the vast majority” of those workers in its stores.
In the U.S. Walmart closed its Auto Care Centers in mid-March while adapting its business to the pressures of COVID-19. In a video posted on the company’s website, John Furner, CEO and president of Walmart’s U.S. business, walks through a store in Tuscaloosa, Ala., to show consumers its safety protocols. That video includes using the Auto Care Center as the employee entrance. It’s also the space where the temperatures of workers are taken as they report to work.
On May 19, when Walmart reported its quarterly financials for the period ended April 30, 2020, Furner told investors that the company would begin reopening some of those Auto Care Centers “over the next few weeks” in locations where the company believes it is safe for both consumers and employees.
In that same quarterly financial report, Sam’s Club reported tire sales were soft for the three-month period, which included February, March and April, due to the temporary closure of its tire centers.