Walmart closing half of its Chicago stores because they're not profitable

Walmart Inc. announced Tuesday that it will close four of its eight Chicago stores because the locations have never been profitable since they opened 17 years ago and losses have doubled in the last five years.

The four stores are set to close April 16. They are located at:

  • 8431 S. Stewart Ave. in Chatham.
  • 4720 S. Cottage Grove Ave. in Kenwood.
  • 2844 N. Broadway St. in Lakeview.
  • 2551 W. Cermak Road in Little Village.

The pharmacies at these stores will remain open until next month.

“The simplest explanation is that collectively our Chicago stores have not been profitable since we opened the first one nearly 17 years ago — these stores lose tens of millions of dollars a year, and their annual losses nearly doubled in just the last five years,” Walmart said in a statement. “The remaining four Chicago stores continue to face the same business difficulties, but we think this decision gives us the best chance to help keep them open and serving the community.”

The retail giant will also close a 15,000-square-foot Walmart Academy, its largest of seven in Illinois, that was built last year in the parking lot of the Chatham store.

The company said it “tried many different strategies to improve the business performance of these locations,” including building smaller stores, localizing product assortment, and offering services beyond traditional retail.

“And we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the city, including $70 million in the last couple years to upgrade our stores and build two new Walmart Health facilities and a Walmart Academy training center,” the Bentonville, Arkansas company said.

All laid-off employees are eligible to transfer to other stores and will be paid until Aug. 11. Those employees who do not transfer by August will receive severance benefits, according to Walmart.

The Chatham Business Association plans to help find a suitable tenant for the Chatham store, especially after Target closed its Chatham store in 2019.

“Maybe a collaboration of different types of businesses can take up that space,” Melinda Kelly, president of the CBA, told the Chicago Business Journal.

Anne Hatfield, a spokeswoman for Walmart, did not return calls seeking comment.


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