Retail

Walmart removes firearms from sales floor in some stores as protests continue across U.S.


A file photo of guns for sale at a WalMart store.

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Walmart said it’s removed firearms and ammunition from some of its stores’ sales floors, as protests sparked by the death of George Floyd continue across the U.S. and in some cases, have led to looting.

The big-box retailer said Wednesday that the items are still available for purchase, but are now kept in a secure room.

“As a responsible seller of hunting and sporting firearms, we have temporarily removed firearms and ammunition from the sales floor in some stores out of an abundance of caution,” the company said in a statement.

A company spokesperson declined to say how many stores had pulled them from sales floors and if Walmart has moved other items to secure locations.

Business Insider reported the development earlier Wednesday.

Walmart has more than 4,700 stores across the U.S. Some of its stores in major cities do not carry firearms.

In major cities from New York to Los Angeles, hundreds of thousands of people have gathered to protest the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man who struggled to breathe as a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground and knelt on his neck. In some cases, protests have led to clashes with police, damage to storefronts and looting. Many mayors have responded this week by setting citywide curfews. Some retailers, from convenience stores to luxury retailers, have swept up shattered glass or boarded up windows of their stores.

In high-end shopping districts in Manhattan, Chanel and Coach stores were looted and windows of a Sephora store were smashed. Nordstrom‘s flagship store in Seattle and Neiman Marcus’ flagship store in Dallas were vandalized. More than 200 of Target’s stores were closed or had adjusted hours over the weekend, company spokesman Joshua Thomas said. Six of its stores have been closed until further notice after sustaining major damage — including a Minneapolis store near the site of Floyd’s death that will be rebuilt.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said during the company’s annual shareholders meeting Wednesday that some of its stores have been damaged, too. 

“We’ve had some stores where we’ve had inventory lost and some physical damage, but it’s not very many stores as a percent of total,” he said. 

He didn’t say the number of stores or describe the extent of the damage.

“We’ve been pretty aggressive as it relates to closing stores, closing stores early and that’s what we’ll continue to do through the crisis,” he said. “We’ll just focus on associate and customer safety and then recover as needed beyond that.”

McMillon began his remarks at the meeting, which was held virtually, by expressing sadness about Floyd’s death and emphasizing the company’s commitment to inclusivity.

“The killing of George Floyd is tragic, painful and unacceptable,” he said. “It’s important that we all understand that our problems as a nation run much deeper than one horrible event. The pain we’re feeling reminds us of the need to support each another and come together. Until we as a nation confront and address these hard realities, we will never achieve the best of what we can be.”



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