Bedford Walmart to close

{span}This Walmart store on Colby Court in Bedford will shut down operations in June, according to a company spokesperson.{/span}

BEDFORD — The local Walmart store will be shutting its doors next month after being unable to reach lease terms with its landlord.

Walmart is working with all of the store’s 110 employees to offer them transfers to other stores in New Hampshire, according to Phillip Keene, spokesman for Walmart.

“This is not a layoff-sort of action,” said Keene. Although the store will cease operations by June 14, potentially sooner, he said Walmart will attempt to keep its existing associate base.

Local employees at the store at 17 Colby Court were notified of the closing on Wednesday.

“We will start, probably as soon as next week, some clearance sales in that store,” said Keene. If the merchandise dwindles quickly, the store could close prior to June 14, he explained.

The lease for the facility ends at the close of the year. Lengthy negotiations have been underway with the landlord, however Walmart was unable to agree to terms to extend the lease that would keep the store profitable and open, according to Keene.

Grove Court Shopping Center, LLC, owns the building, which is assessed at $9.6 million, according to the town’s online assessment records.

Keene stressed that the store closure is not a reflection of the employees’ hard work or service to customers, but rather a separate business decision.

Starting Wednesday, a human resource team will be working with store managers elsewhere, as well as leadership from the area, to try to get all of the 110 Bedford employees placed at other facilities, said Keene, which includes hourly associates and management.

The 120,000-square-foot Bedford Walmart opened in 1995 and includes limited grocery and frozen food sales.

“We feel like we can still serve the market well with the presence that we have,” said Keene. He noted that there are nearby Walmart stores in Manchester, Hooksett and Amherst. Overall, there are more than 25 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in New Hampshire.

There are no intentions of closing any other Walmart stores in the Granite State, said Keene. “This is an isolated decision based on the lease negotiation,” he stressed.

While it is difficult to make the decision to close a Walmart building, Keene said the company will work hard to ensure minimal impact from this change. The top priority is to take care of the Walmart employment team, he said.

“We are grateful to our customers who have given us the privilege of serving them in Bedford and look forward to serving them at other area stores …,” Keene said in a statement. “We will continue to serve customers in new ways across New Hampshire through expanded grocery pickup and many other innovations aimed at saving them time and money.”

He said Walmart is deeply invested in Granite State jobs and training its associates for the future. It currently employs more than 7,500 workers in the state and has opened two Walmart training academies in New Hampshire.

BedfordNews@unionleader.com

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