Increase in organized retail theft leads Walmart to close stores in Portland

Walmart CEO warned theft could lead to closures

Walmart will close its last two stores in Portland, Oregon by the end of March after saying they were not meeting financial expectations. The decision comes after CEO Doug McMillon warned in December that theft issues could force some store closures.

Two Portland stores closing in March, nearly 600 employees affected

The closure of the two stores will impact nearly 600 employees. Walmart says it will attempt to relocate the workers to stores outside of Portland. More than a dozen Walmart locations will remain open in the Portland metro area.

Portland grappling with rise in retail theft

Portland has been dealing with a surge in retail theft in recent years. Last November, when a clothing boutique permanently closed, the owner left an angry note on the front door.

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Clothing shop owner posted scathing note, citing 15 break-ins

The note on Rains PDX read, “Our city is in peril. 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.”

Store owner Marcy Landolfo told Fox News that after 15 break-ins over 18 months, the business could not withstand the financial losses from the crimes.

“We have no protection against unpunished criminal behavior”

“The problem is, as small businesses, we cannot sustain those types of losses and stay in business. I won’t even go into the numbers of how much has been out of pocket,” Landolfo said.

Small businesses cannot survive financial losses from theft

This week, Portland police conducted an anti-shoplifting operation at two malls, looking to reduce retail theft. Similar efforts in December and February resulted in over 100 arrests.

Recent police blitzes led to over 100 arrests

Last month, Nike said it would pay for off-duty police to provide security at one of its stores, which has been closed to the public for months.

Nike to pay for security at store closed due to safety concerns

Nike told The Oregonian it hoped to reopen the store, saying “a safe and secure workplace is essential for our employees, consumers, and communities.”

Theft higher than historical levels, according to CEO

In December, CEO McMillon said theft was higher than usual. He cautioned that how local jurisdictions handle retail theft will impact operations.

Lax approach by prosecutors could lead to closures

McMillon warned that a relaxed stance by prosecutors toward theft could eventually lead to store closures.

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Prices may rise or stores close if theft not addressed

“If that’s not corrected over time, prices will be higher, and/or stores will close,” he said.


The recent closure of Walmart stores in Portland highlights the devastating impact of retail theft on businesses. With thefts on the rise, companies face unsustainable losses and security risks. Stronger prosecution of organized retail crime is needed to protect employees, consumers and keep stores open. If unchecked, businesses will continue to shutter, harming local economies. Portland’s example underscores the urgent need for solutions before the retail theft crisis spreads to other cities.


What led to Walmart closing stores in Portland?

Increasing organized retail theft caused unsustainable financial losses, prompting Walmart to close its last two Portland stores.

How many employees are impacted?

Nearly 600 Walmart employees will be affected by the closures.

Is retail theft a growing problem in Portland?

Yes, businesses have reported a surge in retail theft and break-ins in recent years.

What has Walmart said about the impact of theft?

CEO Doug McMillon warned prosecutors’ lax approach could lead to more closures if theft continues unchecked.

What can be done to address the issue?

Experts recommend stronger prosecution and penalties to deter retail crime rings. Increased security and cooperation between retailers and law enforcement can also help combat the problem.

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