The last two Walmart stores in the city limits of Portland, Ore., are throwing in the towel.
The big-box retailer says it will close the stores on March 24, as sales have not met expectations. That will impact 580 employees, though they will be given the option to transfer to other Walmart stores, the company said.
The shutdowns come amid a wider swath of store closures by Walmart. All totaled, 10 across the country will close due to their poor financial showing.
While some outlets have speculated that shoplifting losses were a factor in the decision, Walmart has pushed back against that, saying in a statement with an NBC affiliate: “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.”
Police in Portland have been cracking down on retail shoplifters in recent months, with one sting in December seeing 64 arrests, another in February leading to 40 arrests. Yesterday saw another theft “blitz” crackdown.
“For a long time we kind of let everybody get away with it, we just didn’t have the resources to actually touch on it,” Jordan Zaitz, a member of Portland Police’s Neighborhood Response Team, told KPTV. “Now it’s good to actually be able to arrest people and hold them accountable and hopefully get them the help they need.”
While Portland proper will no longer have Walmart stores by the end of the month, the chain isn’t walking away from the area entirely. Outside of the city limits, in the Portland suburbs, there are still more than a dozen Walmart locations.
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