I‘m sure you‘ve seen the alarming headlines recently about Walmart planning to close hundreds or even thousands of stores across the country. As a long-time Walmart shopper yourself, you may be worried about losing your local store.
The good news I have for you today is – Walmart is not closing all of its stores, only a small percentage. Allow me to explain Walmart‘s store closure strategy and why your neighborhood Supercenter will likely remain open.
Why Walmart Is Closing Some Stores
As an expert in retail and e-commerce analytics, I‘ve been closely following Walmart‘s transformation strategy. Here are the key reasons why Walmart has closed around 65 U.S. stores already in 2022, with more slated for closure by year-end:
Surge in online shopping – Walmart‘s e-commerce sales grew a massive 97% in Q2 2021 versus the same quarter last year. More and more customers now prefer buying online.
Declining foot traffic – Malls and shopping centers where many Walmarts reside have seen decreased foot traffic for years. During the pandemic, this accelerated further.
Focus on pickup and delivery – Walmart is expanding pickup and delivery services to over 3,000 stores to provide faster and more convenient service.
Poor performing locations – Stores in small towns or struggling malls with fewer customers and thin margins are being closed.
Walmart knows it must align its physical footprint with changing shopping habits. As experts like Walmart CEO Doug McMillon emphasize, the key is matching stores to customer demand in each market.
"We have good stores in unhealthy markets and markets where customers have moved," McMillon explained in a February 2022 interview.
Walmart‘s Store Closure Strategy
|Year||Total U.S. Stores||Stores Closed||% of Total|
|2022||4,600 est.||65 est.||1.4% est.|
Walmart isn‘t blindly closing any store it can. The company is taking a strategic, localized approach. Here are the main factors Walmart considers when closing a store:
Poor financial performance – Unprofitable stores with significant declines in sales
Shifting demographics – Locations where the local population has fallen substantially
High maintenance costs – Stores requiring major repairs or renovations
Oversaturation – Closing duplicate stores in close proximity
Lease expirations – Choosing not to renew leases when they are up
By pruning unproductive stores, Walmart can focus on locations with higher growth and profit potential.
What Does This Mean For Your Local Store?
I know your biggest question is probably whether your neighborhood Walmart is on the chopping block.
The good news is, unless the store fits the above closure criteria, it‘s highly unlikely your local Walmart will close. Here‘s why:
Walmart is only closing about 60-70 of its nearly 5,000 US stores per year, or around 1%.
Most targeted closures are in small towns with dwindling populations or struggling shopping malls.
Well-performing suburban and rural stores with consistent sales volumes aren‘t at risk.
Your store likely serves an important purpose like fulfilling online grocery orders even if in-store traffic is down.
Rest assured, Walmart‘s CEO has stated the majority of stores are here to stay. "The physical store remains important," McMillon said. "We‘re going to continue to try to get [more] out of those stores."
What If Your Walmart Temporarily Closes?
Occasionally, Walmarts close for a few days for major cleaning, maintenance, or restocking. I know these short-term shutdowns can disrupt your regular shopping habits.
But try not to panic when you see that "Closed for Renovations" sign. These temporary closures allow Walmart to:
Do a deep clean of the entire store
Complete major restocking of shelves
Update systems like AC and refrigeration
Replace floors or make other repairs
Your store should reopen looking cleaner and stocked with fresh inventory in just 2-3 days! You can always shop Walmart.com if you need essentials in the meantime.
Walmart Is Focusing on E-Commerce, Not Closing All Stores
Given the rise of Amazon and online shopping, some speculate that Walmart might eventually close all physical stores and go fully digital. But for now, that is highly unlikely.
In fact, stores are a major advantage Walmart has over Amazon and a key part of its strategy:
90% of Walmart sales still happen in-store
Stores serve as pickup points for online grocery orders
Customers visit stores to see, touch, and sample products
Walmart.com sales are higher in regions with more stores
"Stores remain at the center of strategy but they are evolving," emphasizes McMillon. The key is integrating e-commerce with physical stores.
So while you may see more digital-first moves from Walmart, full-on mass closures are not in the cards based on consumer demand. Stores are simply too vital.
The Bottom Line
I hope this breakdown has helped provide peace of mind about the future of your go-to Walmart. Unless explicitly announced, consider your neighborhood store safe.
Walmart is simply rightsizing – keeping profitable locations while pruning underperforming ones. But physical stores remain the heart of its business. Rest assured, Walmart has no plans to abandon the communities it has served for decades.
Thanks for taking the time to read this analysis. Please reach out if you have any other Walmart business questions I can help answer! I‘m always glad to share my retail insights with fellow shoppers like you.