Walmart decided to close four stores in Chicago because they have not been profitable since they were opened almost 17 years ago. The retail giant explained that these stores had lost tens of millions of dollars annually, and their annual losses have nearly doubled in the last five years.
In a press release, Walmart said the remaining four stores still open in Chicago continue to face the same business difficulties. Still, the company believes that with the closure of the four stores, effective April 16, they will have a better chance to help keep them open to serve the community.
“The decision to close a store is never easy. The impact is greater than just closing a building. It affects people — people who work in, shop in, and live in communities near our stores — and we never take that lightly. Treating people and communities with respect and compassion during this transition will guide everything we do,” the company said.
Associates at the closed stores can move to another Walmart center and receive a salary through August; if they do not move to another store, they will receive severance.
In the analysis presented by the company on the decision to close the stores, it explained that over the years, they had tried many different strategies to improve the business performance of these stores, including building smaller stores, localizing product assortment, and offering services beyond traditional retail.
They invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the city, including $70 million in the last two years, to upgrade their stores and build two new Walmart Health facilities and a Walmart Academy training center.
“It was hoped that these investments would help improve our stores’’ performance. Unfortunately, these efforts have not materially improved the fundamental business challenges our stores are facing,” the retailer acknowledged.
The following stores closed to the public on Sunday, April 16:
- # 5781 Chatham Supercenter, Walmart Health Center, and Walmart Academy, 8431 S. Stewart Ave.
- #3166 Kenwood Neighborhood Market, 4720 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
- #5645 Lakeview Neighborhood Market, 2844 N. Broadway St.
- #5646 Little Village Neighborhood Market, 2551 W. Cermak Road
The pharmacies at these locations will remain open to serve patients for up to 30 days.
Also, the retailer will work with local leaders to help find reuse options for these four buildings.