Walmart closures a “double blow” for many frustrated residents

Daily News Article - February 1, 2016


1. a) How many Walmart stores closed last week in 27 states across the country?
b) Why is this a problem for those customers? (Where are most of the stores that have closed located?)

2. What two reasons does Walmart give for their decision to close these stores?

3. a) What problem did Walmart create by closing its store in Whitewright, Texas? Be specific.
b) What has Whitewright’s Mayor Allen West said about Walmart’s closing?

4. a) What compensation is Walmart offering to employees from the stores that closed?
b) Do you think Walmart is obligated to do more, less or this is the right thing to do for employees? Explain your answer.

5. a) In a statement to CBS News, what did Walmart say the company is doing in the communities impacted by the stores’ closings?
b) In your opinion, do these efforts make up for the closures? Is this more than what the company should do, or is there something else they should do?

6. For Discussion:
This is an emotional topic: some say big corporation hurts people. Many Americans love Walmart; many American hate Walmart. The majority of people who live near a Walmart shop at it. For each statement, state whether you agree or disagree. Explain your answers:

  1. Walmart is responsible to stockholders. Shares in Walmart have fallen 25% in 12 months. The company must cut the stores causing the value of the stocks to fall so drastically - it has an obligation to its shareholders.
  2. Walmart is responsible to the community in which it opens a store. It is horrible community relations - makes the brand look bad and gives Americans very bad feelings toward Walmart - people think Walmart is a bad company.
  3. Do you think Walmart has any obligation to a community, or should have? If so, what?
  4. As a huge nationwide store, Walmart is in a unique position - everyone needs groceries - if it was a Staples or Bust Buy it would be different. A CVS or Walgreens pharmacy, if the only pharmacy in town, should have the same obligation to the community that Walmart does.
  5. Opening a store and deciding to close it a year later is wrong for this enormous corporation; they can afford to keep it open longer
  6. Walmart should at least help the old “mom and pop” store that closed re-open
  7. Another entrepreneur who would like to open a grocery store in the community can now do so without the competition from Walmart. The mayor should try to persuade another chain store to open: perhaps a smaller regional grocery store.
  8. The people of the community are partly responsible - their desire for cheaper groceries and a wider variety caused them to abandon the store that they had shopped at for many years. What responsibility does a community have to still shop at the “mom and pop” store? By taking all of their business to Walmart (for the price/variety of products, etc.) they are part of the reason the small stores close.
  9. Amazon sells almost everything online including grocery items. They have hurt “brick and mortar” stores. Do they have any obligation to communities to not hurt smaller stores (electronics, small appliances, etc.) that cannot compete with their prices)?