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Walmart to close remaining Portland stores as city faces shoplifting crisis

New York Post logo: MainLogo New York Post 3/6/2023 Thomas Barrabi

Walmart will close its last two stores in crime-plagued Portland, Ore., as the city contends with a relentless wave of shoplifting that has hammered retailers.

The two stores, located in the North and Southeastern sections of the Rose City, will shutter on March 24.

The closure announcement followed a “careful review of their overall performance,” a Walmart spokesperson told local news outlet KPTV last month.

“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,” the spokesperson added. “After we decide to move forward, our focus is on our associates and their transition, which is the case here.”

Nearly 600 employees who worked at the two stores face potential layoffs or transfers.

The Post reached out to Walmart for comment.

© Provided by New York Post The Walmart stores will close later this month.Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

The company did not say whether retail theft was a factor in the store closures.

However, Portland police carried out a retail theft “blitz” earlier this month to crack down on shoplifting throughout the city, KPTV reported.

“We’re having big retailers leave,” said Jordan Zaitz, a member of the Portland Police’s Neighborhood Response Team. “I mean, to have Walmart close two of its stores is a really big deal. The people in those neighborhoods, that’s where they shop.”.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon warned in December that the company was seeing a spike in “shrink” — a term the retail industry uses to address losses related to in-store theft or fraud.

“Theft is an issue. It’s higher than what it has historically been,” McMillon said during an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” at the time. “We’ve got safety measures, security measures that we’ve put in place by store location.

“I think local law enforcement being staffed and being a good partner is part of that equation, and that’s normally how we approach it,” McMillon added. “If that’s not corrected over time, prices will be higher, and/or stores will close.”

McMillon said Walmart takes a “city by city” and “location by location” approach to the shoplifting problem.

© Provided by New York Post The city of Portland has faced a wave of shoplifting in recent months.Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

“It’s store managers working with local law enforcement and we’ve got great relationships there for the most part,” he said.

McMillion did not comment on specific locations that faced potential closure.

As of last year, Walmart had 4,720 stores in the US and 10,586 locations around the world.

Other major retailers with stores based in Portland have experienced issues with shoplifting.

Last month, Nike asked city officials for permission to post off-duty police officers at Portland-based stores with the authority to arrest shoplifters, The Oregonian reported.

© Provided by New York Post Walmart CEO Doug McMillion said in December that retailers were contending with a major spike in theft.REUTERS

One of Nike’s stores in Northeast Portland has reportedly been mostly closed for months due to a rise of theft incidents.  

Last October, local news outlet KGW reported that it witnessed shoplifting incidents at Nike, Home Depot and Target.

Jeremy Girard of the Oregon Retail Crime Association told the outlet that shoplifting has reached a “crisis level” in Portland. He estimated that the worst-affected stores were losing as much as $5 million per year to theft.


New York Post

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