Following widespread Walmart closings in 2016, reports questioned if the chain was preparing to close for good. Those reports have been renewed in the era of Covid-19.
According to CNBC, Walmart temporarily shut nearly 60 U.S. stores for Covid cleaning in December of 2021. See here for story.
The widespread media coverage of those temporary closings have once again led to questions about the health of one of the nation’s largest chains. QuerySprout addressed the concern: Walmart is closing some of its stores to focus more on e-commerce as of 2022. A recent analysis of the company’s revenue reveals that more customers now prefer shopping online to visiting Walmart stores. Therefore, Walmart’s business operations are currently shifting to support online shopping and maintain fast, efficient, and reliable services.
The questions are still asked, however, particularly on social media outlets. The posts generally refer to the last large closure in 2016, and fears that history will repeat itself.
For those unaware, in 2016 NBC News and other outlets reported the closure of 269 Walmart stores. Though 269 stores were closing, including 154 in the U.S. that would cause 16,000 employees to lose their jobs, the report also disclosed as many as 405 new stores were opening globally. The strategy was new Walmart locations would be opened in larger and more profitable locations than the Walmart Express centers that were announced as closing.
The reports proved to be correct, and while today’s news refers to temporary closures, the questions have not abated.
Walmart: Fact vs Fiction
The January 7, 2022 edition of USA Today, in a news item titled “Walmart Expanding 'InHome' Delivery Service to Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, More Cities in 2022,” elaborates on how evolving technology is impacting the Walmart shopping experience: The world’s largest retailer announced Wednesday that it is expanding its “InHome” delivery service from 6 million to 30 million U.S. households by the end of the year. The program first launched in 2019 and is currently available in Pittsburgh, Kansas City, southeast Florida, northwest Arkansas, Atlanta, Phoenix and Washington D.C., Tom Ward, Walmart U.S. senior vice president, last mile, told USA TODAY. A complete list of the cities that Walmart InHome is expanding to was not available, but Ward said the program will roll out to major cities including Dallas, Houston, Nashville, Los Angeles, Chicago and Indianapolis.
Simply, the stores that are closing permanently are not doing so because the retailer is failing; they are doing so in a shift of business mechanics that they believe favors their consumers’ present needs, which includes new options based on Covid-19 factors.
The same mindset, as mentioned, also applies to the current temporary closings, which have been for all intents a response to our ongoing pandemic.
Finally, for a rehash of a popular Readers Digest article from last year, “The Truth Behind 11 Popular Walmart Rumors,” see here. Among those rumors classified as ”false” from the publication include this popular fabrication: Walmart closed stores so they could be used for martial law. According to the article, as credited to Business Insider, the gist of this rumor was the following: Stores were being closed so they could be used to “process” Americans detained due to martial law. The union that represents Walmart workers believed the stores were being closed for another nefarious reason: to silence workers who had been pushing for better pay.
Needless to say, there was no truth whatsoever to this one.
Walmart remains a healthy retailer. They are shifting with the times and have stated they will continue to do so to maintain its relevance.
See here for September, 2021 article from Eat This, Not That! for further specifics.
Thank you for reading.