A WALMART store will soon look very different, and not all shoppers are impressed with the upcoming changes.
When Walmart closed its Atlanta location last year, the chain cited retail crime and arson as the main reasons for the closure.
But now the Vine City location is coming back – with additionally improved security measures.
When it reopens next year, it will house an Atlanta Police Department substation, where city police officers will be stationed to patrol the store.
Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens spoke of the “necessity and necessity” of reopening the store as the community faces a food desert without it.
“Food insecurity is real across Georgia,” Dickens said, according to RoughDraft Atlanta.
“And we don’t want that to happen here in Atlanta. Eight years ago, about 54% of people in the city lived within a half-mile of fresh food. Now we’re at 75%.”
The Atlanta City Council approved Dickens’ request to allocate $1.5 million to Invest Atlanta, a program that would provide tax breaks to attract grocery stores and increase the amount of fresh food and jobs in the community.
As a result, Walmart reopens with a heavy police presence.
The news has stunned some shoppers who have trouble wrapping their minds around the idea of a police station in a Walmart.
A customer simply described it on X (formerly known as Twitter) when reacting to the news: “Dystopian.”
The store has announced that it will officially reopen its doors in May 2024 as a neighborhood market with a pharmacy and grocery store.
The returning business will employ about 130 people, with starting salaries at $14.
The Walmart substation is the first of its kind for the off-price retailer.
While the substation won’t be staffed all the time, its presence is likely to deter future crime at the retailer, the chain said.
Walmart has struggled with a rise in crime in recent years, prompting the store to step up its anti-shoplifting measures.
“Theft is a problem. It is higher than in the past. We have safety measures, safety measures that we have in place depending on the store location,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told CNBC in 2022.
“I think part of that equation is that local law enforcement is staffed and a good partner, and that’s how we typically operate. If this is not corrected over time, prices will rise and/or stores will close.”
This prediction turned out to be correct as more than 20 Walmart stores closed this year alone.
“These stores lose tens of millions of dollars every year, and their annual losses have nearly doubled in the last five years alone,” Walmart said in a statement about the Chicago closures.
“We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the city… We had hoped that these investments would help improve the performance of our stores. Unfortunately, these efforts have not significantly improved the fundamental business challenges facing our businesses.”
MORE STORE CHANGES
This isn’t the only big shopping change coming to a grocery store near you.
Aldi has unveiled a new website design and for the first time shoppers can search for products.
Customers can also now order items directly from the website, whereas previously they had to rely on services like Instacart.
Giant Food is also transitioning a key service, now allowing customers to leverage their pharmacy transactions in its loyalty program, Giant Flexible Rewards.
This means it’s now possible to earn points on eligible purchases, from prescriptions to vaccinations.
Meanwhile, Dollar General is offering some significant discounts as the chain clears excess inventory.
“We are strategically accelerating the realignment of our inventory levels by expanding promotional markdowns, particularly on our non-consumable products,” CEO Jeffery Owen told analysts on an earnings call.
Walmart shoppers are also vying to buy an $80 device that scans for just $27.
Plus, check out how you can get a top-rated speaker for just $18 from the retailer.