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Walmart announced it is permanently closing its final two stores in Portland, Oregon, where waves of shoplifting continue to plague retailers across the city.
The company cites financial reasons for the closures. CEO Doug McMillon recently warned the retailer was experiencing a spike in “shrink,” an industry term for losses related to in-store theft or fraud.
“Theft is an issue. It’s higher than what it has historically been,” McMillon told CNBC in December.
“I think local law enforcement being staffed and being a good partner is part of that equation. … If that’s not corrected over time, prices will be higher, and/or stores will close.”
Lax crime policies in the city have caused other stores to shutter, several of which have cited crime specifically.
In November, a clothing shop called Rains PDX permanently shut down amid a string of break-ins that “left the store financially gutted,” reports Fox Business. The store owner posted a note on the doors slamming the city for the crime rates that led to the closing of the business.
“Our city is in peril,” read the note. “Small businesses (and large) cannot sustain doing business, in our city’s current state.
“We have no protection, or recourse, against the criminal behavior that goes unpunished. Do not be fooled into thinking that insurance companies cover losses. We have sustained 15 break-ins … we have not received any financial reimbursement since the 3rd.”
Elsewhere, Nike asked city officials for permission to post off-duty police officers at the location before closing. Another Nike store in Portland recently closed shop after a flurry of shoplifting incidents.
The Portland news outlet KGW reports that shoplifting incidents have also beset local Home Depots and Targets.
Jeremy Girard of the Oregon Retail Crime Association estimates that the worst-affected stores in the city were losing as much as $5 million per year to theft.
The year 2022 proved historic for Portland. In addition to its theft rates, the city set an all-time high in homicide.
Portland is mayhem. Businesses can’t afford to stay open. Violence bedevils the streets. The city is without a Walmart.
And Democrat Mayor Ted Wheeler has no answer, or idea how to handle the swell crime causing a corporate exodus.