Inflation, economic downturn force Walmart to close under-performing stores
By Roy Green // Feb 17, 2023

Even Walmart feels the pinch of inflation and economic downturn, with the big-box retailer announcing the closure of five under-performing stores in five states.

A spokesperson for the retail giant told KRQE 13 that a Walmart in southeast Albuquerque, New Mexico will be closed on March 10 for failing to meet financial projections. Local reports also disclosed that a Milwaukee store will be closed for the same reason. Moreover, Walmart will shutter three more stores in the Chicago area – with two of the three stores in the Windy City failing to meet company targets, WGN 9 reported.

"This decision was not made lightly and was reached only after a thorough review process," the spokesperson said. "We have nearly 5,000 stores across the U.S. and, unfortunately, some do not meet our financial expectations. While our underlying business is strong, these specific stores haven't performed as well as we hoped."

Inflation has affected Americans across the board, and Walmart is no exception. While it offers competitive prices on goods, some of its customers are switching to discount stores like German-owned Aldi and Dollar General. (Related: Walmart continues to lose customers as inflation forces Americans to turn to dollar stores.)

Analysis conducted by Reuters found that "foot traffic at Walmart's 3,573 supercenters and its 370 other discount stores in the U.S. fell by 2.7 percent on average from June 1 to July 25, 2022, compared to the same period in 2021."

The announcements of Walmart closures in several cities followed a warning issued by company CEO Doug McMillion that the world's top retail chain could close stores or raise prices amid a record uptick in shoplifting in some of its stores.

"Theft is an issue," he told CNBC. "It is higher than what it has historically been. If that's not corrected over time, prices will be higher, and/or stores will close."

No one, not even Walmart, is exempt from the downturn

While no current data is available, Reuters reported back in 2015 that Walmart "likely loses about one percent of its US revenue – or around $3 billion every year – to stealing by customers and some of its employees."

To address the issue, special agents conducted a week-long retail crime sting at the Albuquerque Walmart last spring. The operation held at the soon-to-be-closed location nabbed 16 people.

Aside from shoplifting, Walmart also put a stop to two of its concept stores. The company said that its pickup-and-delivery-only locations in Lincolnwood, Illinois and Bentonville, Arkansas were set to close on Feb. 17. The Bentonville store opened in 2014, while the Lincolnwood store opened five years later in 2019.

Another pickup-and-delivery-only location in Metairie, Louisiana closed in 2022 after five years of operations.

"We are grateful to the customers who have given us the privilege of serving them at our pickup and delivery locations," Walmart spokeswoman Felicia McCranie said in an email. "We look forward to serving them at our other stores in the surrounding communities and on [the Walmart website]."

Of course, shoplifting isn't enough reason to shut down stores. What is certain, however, is that the affected stores aren't selling well and losing money. Walmart may be too stable to stumble from its pedestal, but its actions attest to the fact that even the mighty ones aren't immune to the effects of inflation.

Watch this video featuring containers of goods yet to be unloaded from cargo ships, disrupting the supply chains for companies like Walmart.

The video below is from the True Info Mike channel on

More related stories:

Shoppers burdened by inflation are turning to discount supermarkets Walmart and Dollar General.

Walmart CEO: Rampant organized shoplifting could lead to price hikes, store closures.

Walmart, major US retailers are canceling orders as consumer demand plunges.

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