Walmart announced over the weekend the company is closing its last two remaining locations in Portland, Oregon thanks to the skyrocketing amount of retail theft in the Democrat-controlled city. The closures are expected to affect some 600 employees, according to Yahoo! News.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said shoplifting has hit the company hard and made some locations - like those in Portland - financially untenable.
“Theft is an issue. It’s higher than what it has historically been,” McMillon told CNBC back in December, adding that thanks to shoplifting, store prices “will be higher and/or stores will close."
Now, it seems the company has opted for the latter.
“The decision to close these stores was made after a careful review of their overall performance,” a Walmart spokesperson said, saying that the two stores did not meet the company's "financial expectations."
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“We consider many factors, including current and projected financial performance, location, population, customer needs, and the proximity of other nearby stores when making these difficult decisions. After we decide to move forward, our focus is on our associates and their transition, which is the case here,” the company said.
Nearby residents told local news outlets that the closures will hit low-income communities harder, saying Walmart has lower prices on groceries, home goods and even prescription drugs than any of the few competing grocery stores in the area.
Walmart joins Nike, Raind PDX, and Cracker Barrel as the latest chain to shutter its Portland stores amid retail crime. Starbucks also recently closed two locations citing concerns over the physical safety of its employees.
Retail theft is up more than 50% in some parts of Portland, according to local reports. A survey of business owners taken near the end of last year found that 95% of respondents said they were unhappy with how property crime is addressed in the city, with about 80% reporting “theft had gone up significantly” at their business over the past 18 months. Businesses report seeing more open theft in broad daylight, sometimes with criminals walking out of stores with arms and even carts loaded down with stolen merchandise and no apparent fear of getting caught.