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Four Walmart locations — Kenwood, Lakeview, Little Village and Chatham — will check out their last shoppers in the coming days.

As it turns out, Chicago is not Walmart’s kind of town

After making commitment to stay, super retailer will close a number of stores in the area in the coming months

Just two years ago Walmart boasted in its advertising that it believed in Chicago. Well, apparently Chicago consumers have not returned the favor as a number of Walmart stores will be closing.

Four locations — Kenwood, Lakeview, Little Village and Chatham — will check out their last shoppers in the coming days. The Chatham location never reopened after it was the victim of rioters when George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis. A health center and Walmart Academy center also will be closed. Stores in the Chicago suburbs, including Homewood, Plainfield and Lincolnwood, also are on the chopping block. A total of 15 Walmart stores in Chicago and the surrounding areas will be done this year.

None of the stores locking up have been profitable for years, and the losses at those locations have doubled recently. Back in 2020, Walmart CEO Dough McMillion doubled down on the Walmart commitment to the city of Chicago, but apparently the customers just have not responded.

Walmart just spent $70 million to upgrade the Chicago stores, build new health facilities and to create the training center. It also came to the stores’ aid by building smaller units and selling local food and products.

Inflation pressures and a move towards increased technology are causing Walmart to slow its hiring, according to a Reuters report.  

Walmart CFO John David Rainey told investors during an annual meeting that the slower employee growth factors into the company’s move to turn to more automation and technology. Rainey also told investors he sees inflation easing down to as little as 3% by the end of the year, but that the company is still feeling the effects of higher prices.

Inflation has hit the grocery sector the hardest, and more than 56% of Walmart sales are credited to food. According to a report from the Labor Department, food prices in the U.S. were up 9.5% in February compared to a year ago. Walmart’s private-labeled brand has excelled over the last year or so, accounting for more than 20% (over $600 billion) in total sales.

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