Store Closures Don’t Follow Electoral Maps

A Walmart store in Everett, Washington, announced its closure in April 2023. (Photo by Chin Hei Leung/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A series of viral social media posts list hundreds of businesses nationwide said to be shutting down stores, “All because the economy is so wonderful.” Though 24 different businesses are included, the posts mark three in particular that are purportedly closing stores almost entirely in Democratic-leaning states. “Walmart is closing 23 stores in 8 states (all blue). Target is closing 9 stores in 4 states (all blue). Walgreens is closing 900 stores (mostly blue),” the post reads.

All three retail chains have closed, or plan to close, multiple store locations. However, the numbers cited by the post are inaccurate and the closures are not limited to Democratic states.

The post’s reference to Walmart is likely citing reports that the business closed 23 stores in 2023. These reported closures actually occurred in 14 states, however, not eight as the post claims. Moreover, not all are Democratic leaning. Of the 14 states in which Walmart closed stores in 2023, six were led by Republican governors, six had Republican majorities in their state legislatures, and five awarded their electoral votes to Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Walmart’s planned expansion also was omitted from the post. In January 2024, the retail giant announced that it would be opening 150 stores and remodeling 650 existing locations.

Like Walmart, Walgreens is also closing stores, but not 900 of them. In summer 2023, the company said it would close 450 outlets, but only 150 are located in the U.S. At the time of the announcement, no indication was given as to which stores would be closing, and no public information points towards most being in Democratic states. Some closures have been confirmed since the announcement, however. These include both Republican- and Democratic-leaning states like Iowa, Missouri, Massachusetts, and Michigan

While the post’s claims about Walmart and Walgreens are incorrect, its claim that Target is closing nine stores in four Democratic states is accurate. In September 2023, the store announced that it would shutter stores in New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland, citing crime and safety threats in those areas. All four cities have Democratic mayors, and all four states voted for Joe Biden in 2020. However, Target also opened 21 new stores in 2023, 14 of which are located in the Democratic-leaning states of New York, Hawaii, California, and Illinois.

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