Raleigh residents who prefer to do their grocery and general interest shopping in the middle of the night have a myriad options to choose from — but not quite as many as they did a few years back.
The Harris Teeter in Cameron Village never closes, and neither do a scattering of CVS and Walgreens locations throughout the city, but the region’s largest and most comprehensive retailer, Wal-Mart, has slowly been scaling back the hours of operation in some of its Raleigh locations.
The Wal-Mart Supercenter on New Hope Church Road in North Raleigh was, until very recently, a 24-hour location. Some years back, the Wal-Mart on New Bern Avenue, a few miles to the east, was also a one-stop shop for everything from frozen pizza to video games.
There are three other Wal-Marts within Raleigh’s city limits. The Wal-Mart located at 6600 Glenwood Avenue also operates an 18-hour/day schedule, while both the Wal-Mart in Brier Creek on Glenwood Avenue and the Wal-Mart near the Triangle Town Center on Town Boulevard are, at present, 24-hour locations.
The shift toward closing a number of Wal-Mart stores between midnight and 6 a.m. is not unique to Raleigh; Bloomberg reported in late July that the company would be making this switch at a number of its locations throughout the country.
While Wal-Mart has failed to respond to numerous inquiries for comment or explanation put in by The Record over the past two weeks, a spokesman told Bloomberg that the change in hours was a decision that gets made on a store-by-store basis, and one that would allow the company to “reallocate resources to serve our customers during peak shopping hours.”
Essentially, many of these stores would use these additional six hours to stock shelves and reorganize merchandise.
In the same Bloomberg article, Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon was reported to have said that the chain was “taking the step as part of his drive to improve the shopping experience at Wal-Mart’s U.S. stores, where customers have complained about empty shelves, long checkout lines and poor-quality produce. McMillon has already raised starting wages and cut a layer of management in stores to try to improve the situation.”
Is This Why We Can’t Have Nice Things?
It is unlikely Wal-Mart would be reducing their hours if doing so would cut into the company’s bottom line. While there are often fewer customers during the overnight hours, many have attributed the recent reductions to consumer behavior of a different sort: shoplifting.
A number of Wal-Mart employees in several Raleigh stores, along with employees of nearby businesses who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, said the decision to close down between midnight and 6 a.m. had more to do with overnight theft than an overall lack of customers during those hours.
As Wal-Mart has not responded in any way to The Record’s inquiries on this topic, we reached out to the Raleigh Police Department to find out how many times RPD has been called out to the chain’s five locations within city limits.
We filtered these reports to only include larceny calls, and culled from those both vehicular and bicycle larceny cases, along with larcenies committed by an employee.
All of the numbers date back to January 2007 except for the Town Boulevard location, which has not been open as long. Its numbers date to January 2011.
The data appears to line up with the theory that these locations were chosen for a shorter schedule due to a higher incident of thefts.
The Wal-Mart at 4437 New Bern Avenue had the highest number of service calls for larceny, at 1,707, out of a total of 7,537 police service calls since January 2007.
Raleigh Police Department spokesman Jim Sughrue noted that for many of the stores, the overall number of calls may be inflated by incidents which occurred nearby, such as traffic stops.
The Wal-Mart at 1725 New Hope Church had the second highest number of larceny calls at 1,603 out of a total of 6,219 incidents since January 2007.
The Wal-Mart at Brier Creek (10050 Glenwood Avenue) had the third-highest number of larceny reports, at 1,175. It also set the record for the highest number of incident calls at 7,617, although this may be due in part to the inflation Sughrue mentioned.
The Wal-Mart at Triangle Town Center (8000 Town Drive), despite opening in 2011, had the third-highest number of larceny calls at 651, out if a total of 1,800, by far the lowest overall number.
Finally, the Wal-Mart at 6600 Glenwood Avenue, a little ways past the Crabtree Mall, had a total of 540 larceny calls, out of a total of 4,621 incidents since January 2007.
Editor’s note: as far as we could tell, this Wal-Mart was the only one of the five that was never open 24 hours. Even if this is the case, it should not be taken as proof positive that 24-hour stores attract more crime.
With all of that available data, we thought our readers might be curious about some of the other kinds of incident rates occurring at these Wal-Marts. Here’s a quick rundown of a few, although the disclaimer given earlier by Sughrue, that incidents may be inflated by nearby crimes, should be kept in mind.
- 1725 New Hope Church Road: 127 (since 2007)
- 8000 Town Drive: 27 (since 2011)
- 4437 New Bern Avenue: 218 (since 2007)
- 6600 Glenwood Avenue: 47 (since 2007)
- 10050 Glenwood Avenue: 61 (since 2007)
Drug Law Violations:
- 1725 New Hope Church Road: 59 (since 2007)
- 8000 Town Drive: 17 (since 2011)
- 4437 New Bern Avenue: 69 (since 2007)
- 6600 Glenwood Avenue: 28 (since 2007)
- 10050 Glenwood Avenue: 47 (since 2007)
- 1725 New Hope Church Road: 62 (since 2007)
- 8000 Town Drive: 31 (since 2011)
- 4437 New Bern Avenue: 58 (since 2007)
- 6600 Glenwood Avenue: 30 (since 2007)
- 10050 Glenwood Avenue: 48 (since 2007)