Wal-Mart: It Came, It Conquered, Now It's Packing Up and Leaving



Wal-Mart: It Came, It Conquered, Now It’s Packing Up and Leaving

The Town’n Country grocery in Oriental, North Carolina, a local fixture for 44 years, closed its doors in October after a Wal-Mart store opened for business. Now, three months later – and less than two years after Wal-Mart arrived – the retail giant is pulling up stakes, leaving the community with no grocery store and no pharmacy.Though mom-and-pop stores have steadily disappeared across the American landscape over the past three decades as the mega chain methodically expanded, there was at least always a Wal-Mart left behind to replace them. Now the Wal-Marts are disappearing, too.

“I was devastated when I found out. We had a pharmacy and a perfectly satisfactory grocery store. Maybe Wal-Mart sold apples for a nickel less,” said Barb Venturi, mayor pro tem for Oriental, with a population of about 900. “If you take into account what no longer having a grocery store does to property values here, it is a significant impact for us.”

Oriental is hardly alone. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said on Jan. 15 it would be closing all 102 of its smaller Express stores, many in isolated towns, to focus on its supercenters and mid-sized Neighborhood Markets. The move, which will begin by the end of the month, was a relatively quick about-face. As recently as 2014, Wal-Mart was touting the solid performance of its smaller stores and announced plans to open an additional 90.

That’s a big problem for small towns, often with proportionately large elderly populations. For the older folks of Oriental – a retirement and summer vacation town along the Intracoastal Waterway – the next-nearest grocery and pharmacy is a 50-minute round-trip drive.
Wal-Mart says it is sensitive to the dislocations its business decisions are causing.
“In towns impacted by store closures, we have had hundreds of conversations with elected officials and community leaders to discuss relevant issues and we are working with communities on how we can be helpful,” said Wal-Mart spokesman Brian Nick.

Wal-Mart has been under increasing pressure lately as sales in the U.S. have failed to keep up with rising labor costs. It’s also been spending more on its Web operations. In October, the company announced that profit this year would be down as much as 12 percent. The outlook contributed to a share decline of 29 percent during the past 12 months.

I think one big problem is that when Walmart comes to town they demand, and get, concessions from local governments in the name of “economic development” including tax breaks, land seized under eminent domain for stores to be built on, sewer and power lines built at gov’t expense, &c. These all put local businesses at a disadvantage.
My attitude would be, let Walmart come to town if they want, but on their own dime.


I don’t disagree that local towns shouldn’t offer incentives to Wal Mart when all they are doing is hurting their own local businesses.

But, I have a hard time having any sympathy for the residents of this town. They abandoned (at least enough of them did) the local businesses just so they could get a price break at Wal Mart, who can undercut local competitors price wise.

If you don’t support your local businesses, you have only yourself to blame when they close up shop.


Is this Wal-mart contraction a classic example of corporate over-extension?



/small business owner


Old enough to have seen big box stores come and go. I predicted I’d see the demise of big W years ago (early 90’s, due to extremely bad customer service). Cant wait to shop their going out of business sales.


I only buy at Wallmart if the price is lower than other stores. Eight years ago I went frequently. Today I buy very little there because they have rasied their prices so much. They don’t advertise with their smiley stickers any more because their prices have increased so much.

Wallmart had the policy under it’s original owner to keep prices low. But this isn’t the case any more. They have grown teeth and are using them.

Wallmart reminds me of Sears in the sixties. I bought everything there. But then they just started building lots more stores which did not prove to be profitable. Then they started raising prices. I left and started buying at other stores. And I said to myself at that time, “they eventually are heading for disaster.” And so they did.

Wallmart thinks it is different … but it isn’t.



Green greedy smilies with teeth :smiley:


well if Trump wins he has mentioned putting a tax on goods imported from China. Maybe Wal-Mart is worried they won’t be able to offer the lowest prices in town anymore!


Wal-Mart isn’t going anywhere and thankfully so and now with competition from Aldi’s shoppers will benefit even more with lower prices.

I understand the nostalgia with the local shops but how many were they employing? And as much flak as Wal-Mart gets for it’s salaries how much do you think mom and pop were paying their employees?


Wal Mart isn’t going out of business. They are closing stores that are not doing enough business to make it economically viable to keep them open. There are still thousands of Wal Mart stores that will remain open for business.

BTW, most stores today have bad customer service. It takes time and money to train people as they did back in the old days. It just doesn’t happen anymore because they can get away with it. No one shops Wal Mart for customer service. They will survive.


That’s what Wal-Mart does. It couldn’t go on forever, and competition is already popping up in areas where they’re is losing ground.


It will probably be at least another 8-10 years before the supercenters and mid size stores start closing, stores come and go, look to the past to see how many, some very big, have done the same thing, walmart is no different, eventually someone will come along and replace them.


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