George Floyd protests force Walmart, Target to close stores

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Major retailers including Walmart, Target and CVS have closed stores as protests over the police killing of George Floyd turned violent, according to reports.

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, shut hundreds of stores Sunday afternoon as protesters clashed with police and looting roiled some places. Damage from protests kept dozens of Walmart stores closed all day Sunday and it’s uncertain when they’ll reopen, a company spokesman said.

“What’s disturbing over the last 24 hours is it isn’t just at night,” a Walmart spokesman told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday. “We’ve even had issues this morning in broad daylight. We want to make sure our associates are safe.”

Target boarded up many of the more than 200 US stores it closed over the weekend, though some had reopened by Sunday evening, according to the Journal. The company’s website on Monday morning listed six locations in five states that remained closed.

They include two stores in Minneapolis, where Target is based and where Floyd was killed while in police custody last week. The Lake Street location near the site of Floyd’s death has to be rebuilt and won’t reopen until later this year, Target says.

“In any of our other locations that are damaged or at risk, the safety and well-being of our team, guests and the surrounding community will continue to be our paramount priority,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a Friday statement.

CVS said it has shut stores in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia amid the protests, but the pharmacy chain did not provide the number of affected locations.

“We are continually monitoring protests as they occur in the communities we serve and will close stores, if needed, to help ensure the safety of employees and customers,” CVS said in a statement.

Most of the roughly 130 stores that Apple had reopened following the coronavirus crisis were shut on Sunday, Bloomberg News reported. Starbucks and McDonald’s also closed some stores amid safety concerns, according to the Journal.

Some Nike and Adidas stores also reportedly suffered damage. Several people were arrested outside Nike’s SoHo location Sunday night as looting struck the posh neighborhood.

The wave of closures came amid a record plunge in retail sales nationwide as coronavirus-related lockdowns kept consumers shut in their homes. Big-box chains like Walmart and Target had been able to keep operating during the virus crisis, but widespread restrictions forced many other retailers to close.

With Post Wires

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