Grocers nationwide are closing as online grocery stores close their doors, with Walmart closing stores in the Twin Cities and St. Paul, Minnesota, in what is being called a “historic holiday shopping spree.”

The closures are part of Walmart’s plan to diversify the retailer’s offerings and cut down on its reliance on grocery stores.

The company announced Thursday that it would close more than 1,200 locations in the U.S. by Dec. 31, with about 1,600 locations in Minneapolis and Sturgis.

Walmart, based in Bentonville, Ark., has a history of shutting down grocery stores and opening new ones as it tries to become more of a consumer-focused business.

More:Walmart’s U.K. stores have closed since mid-January, when the company said they were closing because of a high volume of online shopping.

Grocers in the Minneapolis and metro area said they expected the closures to begin Friday morning and last through Friday night.

“Walmart will continue to close its Minneapolis and downtown stores and to close other locations on a day-to-day basis,” according to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Authority.

Earlier this month, Walmart said it would open its first Minneapolis store this month.

Walmart announced Thursday it will close about 1.5 million locations nationwide, with 1.2 million stores planned for the next 12 months.

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