Walmart has announced that it is permanently closing its last 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 that the retailer had a spike in “shrink,” an industry term for losses due to in-store theft or fraud.
“Theft is a problem. It’s higher than what it’s been in the past,” McMillon told CNBC in December.
“I think having local law enforcement staffed and being a good partner is part of that equation. … If that is not corrected over time, prices will be higher and/or stores will close.”
The city’s lax crime policy has led to other stores closing, several of which have specifically mentioned crime.
In November, a clothing store called Rains PDX closed for good amid a series of burglaries that “financially devastated the store,” Fox Business reports. The store owner put a note on the doors slamming the city for the crime rate that led to the closing of the business.
“Our city is in danger,” the note read. “Small (and large) companies cannot do business in the current state of our city.
“We have no protection or recourse against criminal behavior that goes unpunished. Don’t be fooled into thinking that insurance companies will cover losses. We have experienced 15 burglaries…we have not received any financial compensation since the 3rd.”
Elsewhere, Nike asked city officials for permission to place off-duty police officers at the site before closing time. Another Nike store in Portland recently closed its shop after a series of shoplifting incidents.
Portland news outlet KGW reports that shoplifting incidents have also plagued local Home Depots and Targets.
Jeremy Girard of the Oregon Retail Crime Association estimates that the hardest-hit stores in the city lost as much as $5 million a year to theft.
The year 2022 turned out to be historic for Portland. In addition to the robbery rates, the city posted a record homicide rate.
Portland is chaos. Businesses cannot afford to stay open. Violence plagues the streets. The city does not have a Walmart.
And Democrat Mayor Ted Wheeler has no answer, or idea how to deal with the massive crime a corporate exodus sparks.