Walmart has begun closing more than a dozen stores in major cities in recent months, the latest being four locations in Chicago.
Located in the Chathem, Kenwood, Lakeview and Little Village neighborhoods, the four Walmart stores are part of a list of 19 closures in 11 states and Washington, DC, scheduled for this year. reported Business Insider. Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported job cuts at the retail giant’s e-commerce fulfillment centers in Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida and New Jersey, affecting more than 2,000 workers.
The largest employer in the country said On Tuesday, Chicago stores have collectively lost tens of millions of dollars a year and haven’t been profitable since the first of four opened nearly 17 years ago. Walmart also said it has tried several different business strategies to improve site performance, including investing $70 million in recent years.
“Unfortunately, these efforts have not materially improved the fundamental business challenges facing our stores,” the company said in a statement, adding that stores will close permanently on Sunday.
Walmart will still have four branches operating in Chicago after the Sunday closings, but the company said those remaining stores “face the same business challenges.” The closure of four stores this week gives surviving stores the best possible chance of staying open long-term, Walmart said.
“A major economic loss for our region”
“The decision to close a store is never easy,” the company said. “The impact is bigger than just closing a building. It affects people – people who work, shop and live in communities near our stores – and we never take that lightly.”
Walmart’s closures don’t stop at Windy City. walmart closed two sites in Portland, Oregon, last month due to poor financial performance. Walmart also closed one location each in Milwaukee and Washington, D.C., citing the same reasons, though it didn’t reveal exactly how much money the locations lost.
Walmart this month too considering closing a location in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn, Minnesota. City Manager Reginald Edwards called the move a “devastating and major economic loss for our region”.
In total, Walmart plans to close 19 underperforming stores this year, including in Atlanta and Honolulu, Business Insider reported. CEO Doug McMillon said CNBC in December that Walmart could also close stores after a historic increase in thefts in some locations.
Chicago’s impending shutdowns have frustrated area customers, many of whom said Walmart was more than a place to buy food. The location in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood also contained a health center and a job skills and placement academy.
“We need to be able to shop in our neighborhood instead of having to drive so far”, buys Cassandra Walker said CBS Chicago. “I hope our new mayor has something in mind [for the building] and it can be better, especially in our neighborhood.”