In 2023, Walmart closed dozens of its stores across the country. Is this a trend that will affect our Maine Walmart stores?

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Walmart's business strategy, which has seemingly worked for decades, centers on harnessing ‘economies of scale.’ They utilize this principle by purchasing large quantities of goods from suppliers and negotiating prices lower than what smaller competitors can offer, in order to secure low bulk prices. This is how they can pass on the savings to their customers.

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Essentially, Walmart uses its large size to provide customers with discounted prices.

According to Walmart’s ‘History’ tab on their website, Walmart started with one man. In 1962, Sam Walton began with just one store and one mission: to help people save money so they could live better. As a growing global digital enterprise with over 11,500 stores, Walmart claims to maintain Walton's vision.

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Additionally, Walmart is a publicly traded family-owned business, as the company is still controlled by the Walton family as the majority owners. Sam Walton's heirs own over 50 percent of Walmart through both their holding company Walton Enterprises and their individual holdings. So, they’ve been in the game for a while now; they seemingly know what they’re doing.

But why was Walmart closing so many stores last year?

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Ironically, according to Business Insider and, Walmart closed 23 stores across the country in 2023. This includes Walmart stores in several different states and in our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. This follows a trend, year-by-year, of also closing dozens of their stores in previous years, including 22 in 2019 before the Coronavirus pandemic.

The recent closures follow a trend of Walmart closing a handful of stores across various states each year, with the company saying that the stores are "underperforming" or falling short of financial expectations.

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For nearly two decades, Walmart has been struggling to get some of its stores into the green, losing “tens of millions of dollars a year.” Just in the past five years, those losses nearly doubled, according to Walmart.

How will these closures affect the Walmart stores in our Pine Tree State?

Credit: Google Maps
Credit: Google Maps

It’s hard to tell at the moment, but clearly, Walmart isn’t afraid to make a big splash and close a store if it’s underperforming. With 25 stores in Maine, comprising 19 Supercenters, 3 discount stores, and 3 Sam’s Clubs, there’s no shortage of representation in Vacationland. As of October 31, 2023, over 8,000 Mainers make up Walmart's full-time workforce.

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