Walmart Is Closing These Additional Stores by Sunday
The stores are "unprofitable," the retail giant said.
Over the past few months, Walmart has announced waves of store closures across the country, affecting pickup locations, neighborhood markets, and supercenters alike. These closing stores are "underperforming," the retailer previously confirmed, and were identified as part of a review process. The latest round of closures is slated for this month, including Walmart stores in Indiana, Minnesota, Hawaii, and Washington—with another four stores just added to the list. Read on to find out where Walmart is closing even more locations by this Sunday.
READ THIS NEXT: Grocery Chains, Including Safeway and Stop & Shop, Are Closing Stores, Starting Sunday.
Four Chicago neighborhoods will bid farewell to Walmart.
In an April 11 press release, Walmart announced that four stores in different Chicago neighborhoods are on the chopping block.
Affected stores include the Chatham Supercenter at 8431 S. Steward Ave., the Kenwood Neighborhood Market at 4720 S. Cottage Grove Ave., the Lakeview Neighborhood Market at 2844 N. Broadway St., and the Little Village Neighborhood Market at 2551 W. Cermak Road.
The retailer confirmed that the stores are closing by Sunday, April 16, but pharmacies at these locations will stay open "to serve patients for up to 30 days."
"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," the press release reads. "Treating people and communities with respect and compassion during this transition will guide everything we do."
Employees will be allowed to transfer to other Walmart and Sam's Club locations, the retail giant said.
All four stores are "underperforming."
Walmart said that these closing stores in Chicago are also "underperforming," and have been for almost two decades.
"We know the community will have questions about why we are closing these locations," the release reads. "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."
Walmart added that they have implemented different initiatives to improve performance, namely introducing smaller stores, adding more local products, and "offering services beyond traditional retail." The company also built two new Walmart Health facilities and a Walmart Academy training center in Chatham, per the press release.
"It was hoped that these investments would help improve our stores' performance," the release reads. "Unfortunately, these efforts have not materially improved the fundamental business challenges our stores are facing."
The closures will affect the community, customers said.
While Walmart cited profitability as the main reason for closing Chicago stores, locals say the Chatham Supercenter, in particular, is always busy.
"It's one of the most frequented places to visit [in Chatham]," Nedra Fears, executive director of Greater Chatham Initiative, told NBC Chicago about one Walmart. "It's also a regional destination. It's not only for people in our neighborhood. I was just there on Sunday, and it was packed."
But beyond this, customers say that the closures are a detriment to communities. A Chatham Walmart shopper, Norma Gregory, spoke with ABC-affiliate WLS, saying that the news is "terrible."
"Target left, now Walmart is gone, we don't have anything in our community anymore," Gregory said.
In conversation with NBC Chicago, Regina Dickey, a shopper at the Kenwood and Chatham stores, added that Walmart's decision is "not cool."
"It's like they didn't even give a thought to the people in these communities," Dickey said.
Walmart is working with officials to identify new uses for the soon-to-be-vacant spaces.
In the press release, Walmart stated that the company met with community and city leaders to discuss challenges ahead of the decision to close, noting that officials "have been open and supportive." But while looking for solutions, Walmart said it was evident that "there was nothing leaders could do to help get us to the point where they would be profitable."
Chicago officials, however, were quick to note their disappointment with Walmart's decision to close these four stores.
"Walmart's decision to close four locations in Chicago will leave a void in the communities they serve, particularly stores located in communities that have historically lacked options for grocery stores and pharmacies," Brandon Johnson, Chicago mayor-elect, told WLS. "These stores served as a crucial lifeline for communities to obtain fresh, affordable produce. We are committed to identifying ways to fill the gaps these closures will leave in neighborhoods and find creative solutions to repurpose these facilities to the community's benefit."
For its part, Walmart pledged to work with local leaders to find new uses for the buildings, "so they remain important parts of their communities." The Walmart Academy will be donated to the Chatham community, the company said.