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Two Walmart Express stores in Chicago to be shuttered

Walmart’s downsizing experiment is over, and the results were not good.

The retail giant announced Friday that it will be closing 154 U.S. stores, including the 102 smallest, known as Walmart Express. That includes two Chicago stores in Lake View and the Near North Side.

The smaller neighborhood stores, including the locations at 3636 N. Broadway and and 225 W. Chicago Ave., will close permanently this Sunday.

A statement on Walmart’s website said the closing followed a review of its nearly 11,600 worldwide stores for “financial performance as well as strategic alignment with long-term plans.”

Along with the Walmart Express store, closures will affect 23 Neighborhood Markets, 12 Supercenters, seven stores in Puerto Rico, six discount centers, and four Sam’s Clubs locations, the statement said.

“Actively managing our portfolio of assets is essential to maintaining a healthy business,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “Closing stores is never an easy decision, but it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future.”

The closures will affect about 1o,000 U.S. employees and 65,000 worldwide. The company said, “the hope is that these associates will be placed in nearby locations. Where that isn’t possible, the company will provide 60 days of pay and, if eligible, severance.”

Walmart Express stores first opened as part of a pilot program in 2011. EVen with their closures, the company said it plans to open more than 300 stores worldwide in the coming year, including 50 to 60 Supercenters and 85 to 95 Neighborhood Markets in the United States.