Here’s Why Walmart Closes Early (And Closes Sections)

Walmart is a very popular store, founded and created by the Walton family, and is shopped at by millions of people across the United States.

If you are an avid Walmart shopper, you might have noticed that Walmart changed its store hours and is no longer open for a full 24 hours a day, and you are probably wondering why.

What are the Opening Hours at Walmart these Days?

Walmart reduced hours to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic and to help to try to reduce the spread of the disease. However, Walmart’s new hours might be here to stay.

Currently, Walmart has just extended its hours and is open from 6 am to 11 pm. However, this does vary by department.

Some departments that are not open from 6 am to 11 pm include:

  1. Auto Care Centers (7 am to 7 pm)
  2. Deli (7 am to 8 pm)
  3. Pharmacy (9 am to 7 pm)
  4. Photo Center (9 am to 8 pm)
  5. Vision & Glasses (9 am to 8 pm)
  6. Walmart Pickup (8 am to 8 pm)

These other sections are not open for the same amount of time as the rest of the store because they require more specialized staff to manage those sections.

Is Walmart Now Allowed to Keep the Stores Open Longer?

Walmart is keeping stores open longer than they had during the COVID pandemic, where they were shutting their doors at 8 pm, which was a decision that the Walmart Corporation made to reduce the spread of the COVID virus.

As we continue to increase vaccination rates, Walmart has expanded its hours.

Will Walmart Keep Closing Early from Now On?

Currently, Walmart is showing no intention of turning stores back to 24 hours.

This is not due to a regulation placed on the national chain, as much as they intend to continue to do their part to keep COVID rates low.

If they continue to stay away from being open for 24 hours, this will likely be a business decision on Walmart’s part instead of a Federal Mandate.

Issues with returning to being open for 24 hours include:

  1. Staffing shortages make it difficult to make these hours to be feasible.
  2. Current workers aren’t willing to work evenings again.
  3. Shopping habits have changed during the pandemic, making late-night shopping less lucrative for businesses.
  4. Online shopping has increased, making physical locations less lucrative.

Why Does Walmart Close Off Sections?

Walmart closes off sections for a few reasons. These reasons include cleaning and staffing.

For example, the departments listed above (Auto Care Centers, Deli, Pharmacy, Photo Center, Vision & Glasses, and Walmart Pickup) need a special staff member to keep these departments running.

Especially sections like Pharmacy and Vision Centers, both of which require an individual with a Doctorate Degree to be onsite. These sections have trouble finding staff willing to work late hours or night shifts and therefore do not stay open as long as the main store itself.

Other reasons sections are closed off is for cleaning and restocking purposes. When the store was open for 24 hours, they would mark off sections for floor cleaning, as there were no after-hours in which to do it.

Now, they can clean the store once it closes, but they still have to maintain cleanliness while it is open.

Why is Walmart Closing Stores?

Not only is Walmart closing sections of their stores, but they are also closing stores down.

Walmarts chosen to close for a deep clean are typically closed for 40 hours. We have seen these stores close down in the middle of the afternoon on one day and open two days later.

Not only are Walmarts closing for a deep clean, but some are also closing permanently.

It is no stranger that COVID took a toll on the economy in the United States and other countries in the world, and Walmart is not immune to these downturns.

With so many people out of work and so many small businesses closing their doors, fewer consumers have purchase ability. Walmart has had to close stores to maintain its financials.

Walmart is basing its closing decisions on a store-by-store basis based on the market data in those areas.

What Will Walmart Do Now?

Now that Walmart has made changes such as reducing hours and closing stores, you might wonder what comes next?

eCommerce:

Just because Walmart is closing down stores doesn’t mean it is their end. Walmart is now reacting to a different shift in the market: eCommerce.

With the pandemic closing things down, online shopping is at an all-time high. Stores like Target, which already had a strong online presence and curbside assistance, were strong during the pandemic, leaving others to catch up.

Now, stores like Walmart are rising to the occasion. With less of a focus on physical location, Walmart can focus on their online business to keep up with new and changing consumer habits.

Their market research has shown that consumers are drawn to shopping online than visiting a physical location. If you were to look at Walmart’s financials, it shows that they had a growth of eCommerce by 97%. This is the fastest eCommerce growth that Walmart has ever seen.

In-Store Pick-Up & Deliveries:

Walmart has also jumped on the “Curbside Pickup” trend that we have seen from other stores.

This is a great and convenient way to shop without walking through the physical store.

Additionally, Walmart customers can order home deliveries that make it easy for those who can’t make it out to continue to shop at Walmart.