Walmart reopening stores damaged by looting in Chicago

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said Friday that Walmart is not only reopening every store in Chicago that closed down during recent looting but also making more investments in the community.

Protests have spread throughout the United States since the death of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis police last month. Most protests have been peaceful, but some turned violent and resulted in looted stores and damaged property.

“Walmart’s commitment to Chicago remains strong. We are not going anywhere,” McMillon said Friday. “Instead, we are making the investment to repair and reopen all of our stores in the city and help rebuild communities through our racial equity initiative, two new Walmart Health locations in the city, and access to training and education to create a stronger Chicago.”

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McMillon said Walmart will be investing tens of millions more in Chicago, while Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Walmart has committed $35-50 million to the city. Lightfoot noted that Walmart is “reaffirming that Chicago’s communities are a great place to invest and grow.”

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WMT WALMART INC. 118.32 -1.39 -1.16%

It was unclear if Walmart would return to Chicago as the company said for weeks that it was weighing the damage and making a decision. Lightfoot clearly lobbied the retail giant to return.

“My hope is that they will come back,” Lightfoot told local news station WBBM in early June. “But I got a resounding, ‘Mayor, this is our city, this is our home,’ from a lot of other retailers and I would hope that Walmart would follow suit.”

The reopening and new investment comes despite the fact that Walmart had to fight local Chicago politicians and labor unions for years before finally erecting its first store in the city in 2010.

WALMART ANNOUNCES BIG MONEY RACIAL EQUALITY INITIATIVES

Another complicating factor is that Walmart’s Chicago stores aren’t profitable right now. McMillon said the stores “operate at a loss due to a combination of our sales, product margin and expenses.”

Walmart announced earlier this month that it is donating $100 million through a new center on racial equity.

Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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