Earlier in the day Wal-Mart said it would raise entry-level wages for US hourly employees to $11 an hour in February as it benefits from last month's major overhaul of the USA tax code.
The move is created to speed up delivery of online orders by expanding the company's distribution network, putting more inventory closer to end customers. Walmart stores operate separate fulfillment centers.
Sam's Club is a membership-based chain owned and operated by Walmart and has three locations in Alaska.More news: Aetna (NYSE:AET) Raised to "Overweight" at Piper Jaffray Companies
But the glow of that announcement faded just hours later, when the Sam's Club closings were revealed not by an announcement from Walmart but rather through social media posts from confused and increasingly irate customers and employees.
Customers and workers learned of the store closings the same day Walmart received praise from the Trump administration for increasing pay and giving worker bonuses due to the new cut in the corporate tax rate. Sam's Club members can request a membership refund at any time.
According to the Journal, the job cuts, which are expected to focus on workers in various roles at the company's Arkansas headquarters, are expected to be completed by the end of the company's fiscal year on January 31.
"Transforming our business means managing our real estate portfolio, and Walmart needs a strong fleet of Sam's Clubs that are fit for the future", says John Furner, president and CEO of Sam's Club.More news: Major security flaws put virtually all phones & computers at risk
The letter from Steve Orloski, Sam's Club market manager, was sent to Armstead and James Manning, of the New Jersey Department and Workforce Development.
Several other states where CNNMoney has confirmed stores will be closing did not have such notices posted as of Thursday afternoon.
Later - when asked about Walmart's double-barreled decision to raise wages but close Sam's Club stores - White House press secretary Sarah Sanders praised the company.
"Right now that's what the customer wants", she said.More news: Warm weather could cause ice jams