Case Study | Walmart is deciding to shut its outlets: Temporary or not?

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A Walmart store

As everyone knows, the Covid-19 cases are rising across the world, as yet another variant is on the way. As the amount of Covid-19 cases are piling up, each Walmart outlet could be affected.

Due to this, Costco already took a step to end one pandemic-period rule that aids in protecting shoppers. Now, Walmart is also following the track to boost up safety measures.

Recently, two stores in Florida, Jacksonville and Panama City, as well as Claremore, Oklahoma and Pagosa Springs, Colorado, have all been shuttered for more than a day to initiate deep cleaning procedures, which should take place without the presence of customers.

That was not the first time. Deep cleaning procedures also happened in December 2020 and May 2021. But as Business Insider states, Walmart had shut down 22 of its outlets permanently in 2019. Hence, for those who see their local Walmart suddenly closing, although it is for cleaning, some may have the reason to feel concerned.

Although there is a genuine concern from the shoppers, Walmart seems to stick to their closures, explaining that these closures are made “on a market-by-market basis.” Therefore, there will only be a little warning or hints about which store in a specific location could be temporarily closed next.

Coupled with previous similar closures for cleaning, the stores close down at 2 in the afternoon and reopen a couple of days later at 6 or 7 in the morning. As mentioned, two locations in Florida were the recent ones to close on 25th July and reopened on 27th July this year.

Why are people relying on Walmart? It is not like there are no other grocery stores around that consumers cannot reach. It is just that Walmart’s accessibility and size mean that these closures can be devastating for some. While closures might seem unimportant to some Walmart shoppers, they can impact some others.

As per the Institute of Local Self-Reliance, Walmart cashes in on almost 50% of grocery sales in 43 cities and 160 smaller communities. They studied about 203 markets, and Walmart captured 70% of the market share in 38 communities. These numbers put into perspective shows how much people rely on Walmart for their needs.

The decisions of Costco and Walmart illustrate how even as many people are dining in and traveling again, they are still living within the pandemic limits. That becomes truer as the new Covid-19 variant gains immense traction.

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