QUESTION: Is the Walmart Supercenter on Graham-Hopedale Road in danger of being shut down due to problems with shoplifting?
ANSWER: The nation’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer has long been concerned about patrons who help themselves to five finger discounts.
Lately, however, frustration with shoplifting has begun to show through the grin on Walmart’s trademark yellow “smiley” – with the company’s head corporate honcho going so far as to say that he may have to shut the door on some stores if the problem persists.
Shortly before Christmas, Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon told an interviewer from CNBC that the company may end up having to raise prices or even shutter some stores in response to an uptick in shoplifting.
McMillon didn’t go on to specify any particular locations that may be in danger of closure. Nor is there any indication that the CEO’s threats have trickled down to the company’s latest annual inventory of store closures.
In fact, Walmart’s closure schedule for 2023 looks very much like lists from previous years, with a just few “underperforming” locations slated to be mothballed in a select number of states. According to this schedule, the company plans to pull the plug on seven locations in Illinois, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Oregon, and Florida.
At this point, there’s no indication that Walmart plans to decommission any locations in North Carolina – including the supercenter it operates at 530 South Graham-Hopedale Road in Burlington. According to Brian K. Little, the company’s global communications director, it’s still very much business as usual at this particular store.
“I can tell you that, at this time, there are no plans to close this location,” Little informed The Alamance News in response to an inquiry earlier this week.
Another good sign for this store comes from the theft reports that Walmart passes along to Burlington’s municipal police force.
According to Emily-Lynn Adkins, a spokeswoman for the police department, the agency got 153 reports of larceny or shoplifting from the east Burlington store in 2021 – as opposed to the 69 reports it received from Walmart’s supercenter along Garden Road. In 2022, however, the East Burlington location generated 93 reports of shoplifting or larceny – a smidge more than the 90 that Garden Road location logged during that time.
“This is just what was reported,” Adkins went on to concede. “If something isn’t reported or they don’t catch it, we don’t find out about it.”
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