Walmart will shutter four Chicago locations by the end of the week, the company said Tuesday, citing the stores’ unprofitability as the reason for the closures.
The stores slated to close are the company’s Neighborhood Markets in Grand Boulevard, Lakeview and Little Village as well as its Supercenter in Chatham, which also includes a health center and a Walmart Academy training center for Walmart employees and community members.
“The simplest explanation is that collectively our Chicago stores have not been profitable since we opened the first one nearly 17 years ago — these stores lose tens of millions of dollars a year, and their annual losses nearly doubled in just the last five years,” the company wrote in a news release posted on its website.
The soon-to-close stores are located at 8431 S. Stewart Ave., 4720 S. Cottage Grove Ave., 2844 N. Broadway and 2551 W. Cermak Road.
Walmart said its remaining stores in Chicago — located in the Austin, Pullman, Auburn Gresham and Belmont Cragin neighborhoods — “continue to face the same business difficulties.”
“We think this decision gives us the best chance to help keep them open and serving the community,” the company said.
Walmart said it planned to donate the Walmart Academy in Chatham “to the community to help further strengthen Chatham and the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Company spokesperson Felicia McCranie said Walmart is in conversations with “local officials and the community” in Chatham but would not provide more information about those talks or details about what group or organization might get the academy.
In June 2020, Walmart said it would reopen seven Chicago stores it had closed during civil unrest that summer, including the four stores now slated to close by Sunday. At the time, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the company was committed to staying in Chicago even though “these stores, in many cases, are not profitable.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot slammed Walmart for the closures in a statement Tuesday.
“All communities in Chicago should have access to essential goods and services,” Lightfoot said in the statement. “That is why I’m incredibly disappointed that Walmart, a strong partner in the past, has announced the closing of several locations throughout the South and West sides of the City. Unceremoniously abandoning these neighborhoods will create barriers to basic needs for thousands of residents.”
Lightfoot called on Walmart to ensure the shuttered stores would be “repurposed with significant community engagement so they can find a new use to serve their neighborhoods.”
McCranie said the company was not announcing store closures in other cities Tuesday. In February, Walmart announced the closure of three suburban stores: in Lincolnwood, Plainfield and Homewood. At the time, the company said the decision to close those locations came after a “thorough review process” found they had not been performing as well as hoped.
Walmart said workers at the Chicago stores slated for closure would be eligible to transfer to other locations. Pharmacies at the closed locations will remain open for “up to” 30 days, the company said.
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