Today, April 11th, Walmart announced that it was folding half it its Chicago stores. No doubt Walmart execs saw the Chicago mayor’s race. They have some pretty bright people at Walmart’s corporate offices, but it doesn’t take 20 years’ experience and a MBA from Columbia Business School to know that the endemic crime in the Windy City is only going to grow under the new Mayor “Let’s go Brandon” Johnson.
Today we have made the difficult decision to close four of our stores in Chicago.
Difficult but not impossible. At some point you have to stop the bleeding or you’ll lose the patient.
The decision to close a store is never easy. The impact is greater than just closing a building. It affects people — people who work in, shop in and live in communities near our stores — and we never take that lightly. Treating people and communities with respect and compassion during this transition will guide everything we do.
Respect and compassion. Ironic, considering the prolific shrinkage that occurred at these locations… That and stores getting trashed and looted to the studs during the 2020 riots in Chicago.
Having an active role in the community is especially important to us. We are proud of our neighborhood investments through local events like Christmas in the Wards, the Always Giving Back Foundation Bike Giveaway, ChiGives Back MLK Day, the Bud Billiken Day Parade and more. We will continue working with local organizations, creating solutions to challenges faced by the city and country, including racial inequity and food deserts. We continue to help create and expand job opportunities and will leverage our resources to help strengthen the community, especially those underserved.
In other words, despite all the money we gave away to garner favor among residents of the neighborhoods where we did business, there were still an abundance of people robbing us blind. The rest of this is just politically correct word salad with some DEI buzzwords sprinkled on top.
We know the community will have questions about why we are closing these locations.
It doesn’t take a degree in rocket surgery. Visit this link for lots of pictures we don’t have permission to reprint. And the prolific daily thefts. Who knew you could provide a tens of thousands in free merch to those stealing each and every day and stick around.
The simplest explanation is that collectively our Chicago stores have not been profitable since we opened the first one nearly 17 years ago – these stores lose tens of millions of dollars a year, and their annual losses nearly doubled in just the last five years. The remaining four Chicago stores continue to face the same business difficulties, but we think this decision gives us the best chance to help keep them open and serving the community.
Over the years, we have tried many different strategies to improve the business performance of these locations, including building smaller stores, localizing product assortment and offering services beyond traditional retail. We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the city, including $70 million in the last couple years to upgrade our stores and build two new Walmart Health facilities and a Walmart Academy training center.
It was hoped that these investments would help improve our stores’ performance. Unfortunately, these efforts have not materially improved the fundamental business challenges our stores are facing.
The fundamental business challenges: THEFT.
Community and city leaders have been open and supportive as we met with them over the years to share these challenges. As we looked for solutions, it became even more clear that for these stores, there was nothing leaders could do to help get us to the point where they would be profitable.
I’m sure the local leaders were keenly interested in keeping the stores. There are good people living in these neighborhoods. Unfortunately, there are also gang members and other criminals. And between the State’s Attorney unwilling to prosecute retail theft cases, and members of the community providing shelter to habitual offenders, nothing was going to change… And after Johnson’s election, the only change is going to be things getting even worse!
With that in mind, we have made the difficult decision to close these underperforming stores in Chicago. The following stores will close to the public by Sunday, April 16:
- #5781 Chatham Supercenter, the Walmart Health center, and the Walmart Academy, 8431 S. Stewart Ave.
- #3166 Kenwood Neighborhood Market, 4720 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
- #5645 Lakeview Neighborhood Market, 2844 N. Broadway St.
- #5646 Little Village Neighborhood Market, 2551 W. Cermak Road
Given how Walmart has sunk $170 million into these eight locations and NONE of them are profitable, look for them to shudder the remaining stores soon. It’s just common sense.