Walmart closing four Chicago stores

Retail giant said locations lost tens of millions per year

Walmart's Doug McMillon with closing Walmart store at 2551 West Cermak
Walmart's Doug McMillon with closing Walmart store at 2551 West Cermak (Walmart, LoopNet, Getty)

A handful of Walmart stores in Chicago have been forced to close their doors after losing tens of millions of dollars a year, adding to a brutal stretch since the pandemic for the city’s retail sector.

The Doug McMillon-led retail giant is shutting down locations at 4720 South Cottage Grove, 8431 South Stewart, 2844 North Broadway and 2551 West Cermak, all within city limits, the Wall Street Journal reported

Walmart is the nation’s leading retailer by revenue, but it’s been much more profitable in suburban and rural areas compared to cities. The company implemented different tactics to improve business at urban locations, such as localizing merchandise and operating on a smaller scale. Walmart will now work with local leaders to find a new use for the closing sites.

“Collectively our Chicago stores have not been profitable since we opened the first one nearly 17 years ago,” Walmart said in a statement. “These stores lose tens of millions of dollars a year, and their annual losses nearly doubled in just the last five years.” 

Four separate Walmarts in Chicago will remain open, and the company hopes more foot traffic will be driven towards these locations as a result of the closures. Outgoing mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was “incredibly disappointed” in the news, and that the departure of these stores “will create barriers to basic needs for thousands of residents.”

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The company recently announced it will close several shops in Chicago’s suburbs as well, including a pick-up-only location in Lincolnwood, plus two conventional stores in Plainfield and Homewood.

Other big-name retailers have struggled to find success in the Windy City. In February, Bed Bath & Beyond confirmed that it will shut down operations at the Chicago Ridge Mall, where owner Starwood Retail Partners faces potential bankruptcy.

And Old Navy ditched its 32,000-square-foot space in Central Loop last year after being in business for 10 years at 150 North State Street, and the Mag Mile retail strip has lost tenants like Gap, Uniqlo, Macy’s and Banana Republic. 

— Quinn Donoghue

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