Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re re-posting it here in case you missed it.
Walmart is closing 11 stores in eight states, most of them Walmart Neighborhood Market stores, which are smaller versions of the company’s Supercenters.
Local officials said Walmart officials told them that there were, in essence, too many stores too close together.
“One of the things that came out early, I think they identified five stores within a 9-mile radius from that location, but 9 miles isn’t short by any means of the imagination,” City-Parish Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux said.
The area where the store closed is also dominated by low-income residents.
“The community we live in has been declining for decades,” said Ken Lazard, pastor of Destiny of Faith Church.
Walmart is shuttering Walmart Neighborhood Market stores in Chandler and Tucson, Arizona; San Jose, California; Liberal, Kansas; Columbia, South Carolina; Morristown and Knoxville, Tennessee; North Chesterfield and Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Vancouver, Washington.
Closing dates varied. Some of the Neighborhood Market stores closed Friday; others were scheduled to shut down April 19.
In discussing the end of the Chandler store, Tiffany Wilson, Walmart’s communications director, said performance was one reason for the closing, the Arizona Republic reported.
“While this was a difficult decision, in order to maintain a healthy business and deliver the shopping experience that our customers expect within a highly competitive retail environment, we must at times make tough choices,” she said.
A Walmart spokesman noted that similar factors were at work in the decision to close the Knoxville location, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.
“As you can imagine, the decision to close a store is very complex and it’s based on several factors, including financial performance of that store,” Anne Hatfield, Walmart’s state and local communications director for the central region of the country, said. “It’s in no way a reflection of the incredible team who run that store.”
The availability and proximity of other stores was also cited as a reason for closing the Knoxville location.
Walmart has indicated that store closings will be limited to about 10 locations in 2019. That means it will have closed more stores than it opened for the year.
In February, Walmart posted a $3.69 billion profit for the final quarter of 2018 on sales of $138.79 billion. Its profits and sales figures topped Wall Street estimates, The Washington Post reported.
Walmart currently has more than 4,700 U.S. stores, with about 3,570 Supercenters and roughly 700 Neighborhood Markets.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.