Multiple Walmart Stores Are Cutting Their Hours—Will More Follow?
The stores will close two hours earlier every night, a spokesperson confirmed.
Walmart is one of those big-box stores that feel like they're always open. This might be a lingering sentiment from pre-COVID times, when some Walmart locations were open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During the pandemic, the retailer slashed its operating hours—and while they were upped incrementally as restrictions eased, the standard Walmart hours have been 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time since June 2021. While some shoppers hoped for a return to the 24/7 options, the company said it had "no plans" to go back to 24-hour-a-day operations. In fact, the big-box retailer is now planning to close earlier at multiple locations. Read on to find out why Walmart is cutting store hours.
Stores are closing two hours earlier.
According to reporting by WSB-TV, five Walmart stores in the metro Atlanta area are closing earlier. A Walmart spokesperson confirmed that each location will now close at 9 p.m. instead of 11 p.m.
The stores in Atlanta will still open bright and early, at 6 a.m. daily, so if you like to get your shopping done first thing, you won't be affected.
The Walmart stores affected by the change are Union City (4735 Jonesboro Road); Lithonia (5401 Fairington Road); College Park (6149 Old National Highway); Atlanta (1105 Research Center Atlanta Drive SW); and East Point (844 Cleveland Avenue).
A company spokesperson said the change was made "to better serve our communities."
Walmart explained that the decision to close a bit earlier was made based on feedback.
"We're continually exploring ways to better serve our communities," the spokesperson told WSB-TV. "After considering feedback from market leadership, associates and customers, we've decided to adjust operating hours."
Best Life reached out to Walmart for comment on the change, and will update the story when we hear back.
Will more Walmart stores close earlier?
The spokesperson didn't provide additional details on the "feedback," and it's not yet clear whether Walmart will make similar adjustments at other stores.
The company also didn't mention crime or retail theft as a possible reason for the shift, but Walmart stores in the Atlanta area have been targets.
WSB-TV points to fires at Atlanta-area Walmarts late last year, on Howell Mill Road and in the Vine City neighborhood. According to the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department, bad actors intentionally set a fire at the Vine City location "to create a distraction, allowing the offenders to shoplift items and escape as patrons rushed to exit the burning stores."
The surviving Walmart location will be smaller—and have a police presence.
The Walmart on Howell Mill Road in Atlanta was forced to permanently close, but the Vine City store is reopening as a smaller Walmart Neighborhood Market in May 2024. In addition to a format change, TheStreet reported that the Vine City Walmart will also be outfitted with a police substation within the store.
"After talking with the Merchants Association on MLK and Clark University and other people in the neighborhood, folks were saying they want to see more police presence," Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens told the outlet.
In response, the big-box retailer also told TheStreet, "Walmart has a long history of supporting local law enforcement, and we remain committed to helping them be successful in the communities we serve. Providing local police with a workspace inside stores isn't a new feature, and we see efforts like what's being considered for our future Vine City store as a way to better collaborate with law enforcement and support the community."