On Tuesday, Walmart announced that four of its shops in Chicago would be closing by the finish of the week due to poor financial performance.
The Grand Boulevard, Lakeview, & Little Village Community Markets, as well alongside the Chatham Supercenter, which has a health centre and a Walmart Academy education centre for Walmart staff members and the community, will be closing.
Company officials explained the trend in a press release posted on the business’s website: “The most straightforward explanation is simply that collectively our the city of Chicago shops have been struggling to be profitable because we opened our inaugural one more than seventeen years ago.
The shops in question lose thousands of millions of pounds a year, and their yearly losses have nearly doubled within just the previous five years.”
Is Walmart Relocating Its Chicago Location?
These locations at 8431 S. Steward Ave., 4720 S. Forest Wood Ave., 2844 N. Broadway, and 2551 W. Cermak Drive are the ones that will be closing soon. The four Walmart locations in Austin, Pullman, Auburn Gresham, and Belmont Cragin, all in Chicago, “continue to encounter the same commercial issues,” the retailer stated.
The company has stated that they believe this choice will give them the best opportunity to remain operational and provide their services to the local community. The Chatham Walmart Academy will be donated to the community “to assist further enhance Chatham and the neighbouring areas,” as stated by Walmart.
Felicia McCranie, a representative for Walmart, said that the retailer is in talks with “local leaders and the community” in Chatham, but she declined to elaborate on the nature of those talks or reveal which group or organisation might receive the academy.
Walmart said in June 2020 that it will reopen seven stores that had closed in Chicago due to civil turmoil last summer.
Four of those locations are scheduled to close this coming Sunday. Despite the fact that “these stores, in a lot of instances, are not profitable,” Walmart CEO Douglas McMillon vowed at the time that the business will remain in Chicago.
The administrator of the Metropolitan Chatham Initiative, Nedra Sims Fears, expressed her “great disappointment” over the loss of the retail location and health centre.
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Is The Neighbourhood To Blame Now?
According to Fears, the clinic was especially useful for the uninsured people living in Chatham and the nearby areas because of its convenient location.
It’s going to suffer a big loss, and we’re unhappy they didn’t consult with locals about how to create a sustainable business, Fears laments. On Tuesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot issued a statement criticising Walmart for the store closures.
In the statement, Lightfoot argued that “all neighborhoods in Chicago ought to enjoy access to vital products and services.”
For this reason, it saddens me greatly that Walmart, a long-standing ally, has announced the closure of numerous stores in the City’s South and West neighbourhoods. Thousands of people living in these areas will face hardships if their communities are suddenly abandoned.
Lightfoot urged Walmart to “repurpose with extensive community engagement” the closed stores so that they can ” discover a new use for helping their neighbourhoods.”
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A Word From The Mayor, Too!
Brandon Johnson, the next mayor, issued a statement promising to “explore ways to make up the holes these closures would leave in communities, along with attempting to find additional means to ensure people have immediate access to food in their areas.”
In statements released on Tuesday, Alderwomen Sophia King (4th) and Jason Ervin (28th), whose wards include closure targets, expressed disappointment over the news.
According to Ervin, “the southwest and southern side require dedicated partners to put an end to decades of elimination and discrimination,” and he expresses hope that Walmart will make a concerted effort to invest in those areas of Chicago.
King remarked in a tweet, “Certainly, Walmart has the means and respect to give longer notice.” The city should take action to ensure that people may easily obtain food that is both healthful and nutritious.
Lightfoot and other municipal officials have previously spoken out against Walmart’s plans to close four grocery stores in the city’s South and West sides.
Lightfoot called Whole Foods “not a good partner” in Nov after the chain shut down its once-touted grocery in Englewood, which had built in 2016 with the support of a total of $10.7 million of city funds.
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Is This It? Or A Chance To Start Over?
Lightfoot blasted Aldi in the summer of 2017 for its closure of a store in Avondale Gresham early June. There was apparently no warning given to local political representatives.
“Aldi’s, get this message,” Lightfoot said. “Meet us where we are and talk and collaborate with us or else you will have significant difficulties in Chicago.”
Yellow Banana, owner of the Whole Foods that used to be in Englewood, is replacing it with a Save-A-Lot. Last week’s planned soft opening was postponed after protests from Englewood neighbors and elected officials who have been critical of Save-A-Lot’s reputation and food quality.
Walmart is not making any further store closing announcements on Tuesday, according to McCranie. Three outlying Walmart locations, in Lincolnwood, Plainfield, & Homewood, which is were slated for closure in February.
Company officials claimed at the time that a “thorough evaluation process” led to the conclusion that the stores in question were not meeting expectations and should be closed.
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Workers at the Walmart stores in Chicago that will be closing will be offered transfers to other stores, the company said. The business stated it will keep its pharmacies open for “up to” 30 days after closing stores.