Walmart Is Temporarily Closing More Stores, Effective Immediately
A series of fires has plagued multiple Walmart locations.
Most of us can take comfort in knowing that the nearest Walmart is rarely too far away. As prices refuse to go down, having a (mostly) low-cost retailer in the vicinity is more important than ever. But not everyone has a nearby Walmart to frequent—and some people are now dealing with impromptu closures. The retailer has been steadily shuttering stores following a spate of intentional fires, and the problem does not seem to be going away any time soon. Read on to learn more about Walmart's latest temporary closures.
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Walmart has only permanently closed a few stores in the last year.
Lately, it feels like every retailer has been significantly paring down its retail footprint. CVS has committed to closing over 900 locations by 2024, and Bed Bath & Beyond announced that it would be shuttering more than 200 of its flagship stores and its entire Harmon drugstore brand.
But Walmart is one of the lucky few. The mega-retailer has, in fact, only made a few permanent closures over the last year. In spring 2022, Walmart permanently closed five "underperforming" locations in the U.S, with closures hitting locations in Kentucky, Ohio, Washington, and Connecticut.
In November, Walmart permanently closed another store in Pittsburgh for the same reason. Despite being the only location in the city, the company said the Pittsburgh Walmart was also underperforming.
"We have been, and will continue to be, supportive of our store leadership and associates at our Pittsburgh store. This decision is in no way a reflection of their hard work and customer service," Walmart spokesperson Felicia McCranie told Action News 4 at the time.
Now, Walmart is temporarily shuttering stores for a different reason—and some may not reopen.
Walmart is closing stores after intentional fires.
Over the past year, many Walmart shoppers have seen their local store get closed temporarily. The retailer has been plagued by fires at several of its locations across the U.S.
An Atlanta Walmart located on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Vine City was temporarily shuttered twice last year—once in May after a fire was set in the store's clothing department, and then again right before Christmas after another intentional fire was set.
Other Walmart locations in Georgia have been hit with blazes as well. Back in August, a Walmart in Peachtree City, Georgia, was temporarily closed after a 14-year-old girl started a fire in the store's paper goods aisle, according to Fox 5 Atlanta. And in late December, another Atlanta Walmart was targeted on Howell Mill Road just days after the fire at Vine City store.
This is hardly the full scope of the Walmart fires and temporary closures. Other local news reports point to intentional fires at Walmart locations in Selma, Alabama; Hammond, Louisiana; Webster, New York; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Barnwell, South Carolina.
Walmart is closing even more locations for fires now.
Fires continue to wreak havoc on Walmart locations. A blaze just broke out at a Walmart in Waukegan, Illinois, on Jan. 29, CBS News Chicago reported. According to the news outlet, video caught massive flames raging inside the building and smoke filling the air while customers were still inside.
While officials search for the arsonist, Walmart has closed the store temporarily, and there has been no decision yet on when customers can return.
"We're outraged that someone would intentionally set fire to our Waukegan store and force us to close temporarily," a Walmart representative told CBS News Chicago. "We'll assess any damage and reopen as quickly and safely as possible."
Just a few days later, another of the retailer's stores caught fire. A Walmart in Holland, Ohio, battled a blaze the night of Feb. 2, local ABC-affiliate WTVG reported. Fire crews told the news outlet that it began after a paper towel dispenser had caught on fire, and investigators are currently looking into the cause.
Walmart closed the Holland store temporarily as a result, but it has already reopened, as the fire was limited to just the bathroom, and the location did not sustain any damage.
At least one store will not reopen after its fire.
While the Holland Walmart is already resuming operations and the retailer has quickly reopened other stores following fires, this is not the case for every location.
The two Atlanta Walmart stores that were recently closed for December fires are still shuttered right now. And amid uncertainty surrounding the future of these locations, the retailer recently confirmed their fates, revealing that one of the Walmart stores will not reopen at all.
"After a thorough review of all factors related to our Vine City and Howell Mill Road stores, we have made the decision to reopen our Vine City location as a Walmart Neighborhood Market and permanently close our Howell Mill Road location," a spokesperson for the company told Best Life in a Jan. 24 statement. "Unfortunately, a variety of economic headwinds existed at both stores before they were closed due to arson."