After closing last year due to increased violence, a Walmart in Atlanta is expected to return in May 2024, complete with a police substation.
After a second fire at the Vine City Walmart Supercenter in December, both were investigated as possible acts of arson. A second Atlanta-area Walmart on Howell Mill Road was also evacuated when a fire broke out.
CEO Doug McMillon said that Walmart has been having trouble stopping widespread retail fraud. He said theft is a problem, and it’s above average compared to past years. As McMillon put it, there were safety procedures and security measures that they had put in place at each shop location. In most cases, he said, they take the tack that it all starts with local law enforcement being adequately staffed and functioning as a solid partner. Prices will rise, and businesses may collapse if this continues.
According to the U.S. Sun, the retail giant shut down 22 locations in 15 states and the District of Columbia in the same year. Chicago was home to four of the shops that went out of business.
Walmart reported “tens of millions of dollars in yearly losses,” virtually doubling in size over the previous five years, at its Chicago-area stores. The firm said that the underlying business issues our shops are experiencing have not been meaningfully addressed despite these efforts.
Walmart’s Vine City site in Atlanta was set to reopen in August as a Neighborhood Market rather than a larger Supercenter.
Mayor Andre Dickens warned that the neighborhood would become a food desert if the supermarket were to go.
Food insecurity is a severe problem in Georgia, according to Dickens. About 54% of city dwellers eight years ago were within a half-mile of a grocery store. Now it’s at 75%.
He also said that the current government is working to increase the number of grocery shops in the area so that residents may make healthier food choices.
The remodeled Walmart store will include the first police substation of its kind. Dickens claims that the station would not be manned continuously but would act as a hub for law enforcement personnel to do administrative tasks, hold meetings, and recharge electronic devices.
Dickens thinks the heightened police visibility will reduce retail theft and other crimes.