Walmart made it official...the last two stores operating within the Portland city limits will close March 24th.  The stores are at 4200 82nd Ave. SE and 1123 N Hayden Meadows Dr. respectively, with just under 600 employees.

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Walmart did announce they will help the affected employees transfer to other locations in the area.  Walmart still operates more than a dozen stores outside the city itself, in what is considered the metro area that includes the suburbs.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The company stated they are closing the stores due to the locations not meeting financial expectations.  They also acknowledged that a "consider many factors, including current and projected financial performance, location, population, customer needs, and the proximity of other nearby stores when making these difficult decisions."

Retail theft, among other crimes, have been an issue in Portland for some time.  Last year, businesses based in Portland expressed their displeasure with how the city was handling the issue of retail theft.  Walmart has not specifically stated that theft and crime has played a role, but there is a significant statistic that all retailers look at...SHRINK.

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What is SHRINK?

SHRINK, or shrinkage, refers to the difference between the amount of merchandise (or inventory) that the retail company owns on its books, and the results of a physical count of the merchandise.  I worked in retail for a long time and the top thing retailers focus on is making their SHRINK number as small as possible.

Retail theft plays a major role in what that number looks like.  Retail theft is so bad in Portland that Nike is offering to pay police to guard their Portland outlet location that remains closed due to the theft issue.  It is so bad that retailers in the city banded together to create a private Facebook group.

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From January 2022- January 2023 Portland Police showed over 27,100 reports of larceny (what shoplifting changes to when a person leaves the store) in the city.  That averages over 2,000 incidences a month.  It seems almost implausible that Walmart would close all of their stores in a major metropolitan area, but when a spokesperson for the company state "multiple factors" go into the decision, most can read between the lines and draw their own conclusion.

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