The Squad: Walgreens Racist For Departing Community Riddled With Crime

Like many large retailers, Walgreens is shutting down store locations in communities where it isn’t performing well. And, like many large retailers, this is happening in abundance in communities that are riddled with increasing crime.

This might seem like sound business practice to most, but not to some members of the ultra-progress “Squad” in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This week, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) said that Walgreens’ decision to close stores where theft is rampant represents “disruptive, life-threatening acts of racial and economic discrimination [against] Black and Brown communities.”

Pressley made those comments during a House floor speech after Walgreens announced it would be closing a fourth store in Boston, this time in the Roxbury neighborhood, which is part of her district.

The Squad member said that Roxbury is 85% Latino and Black, and commented that when “Walgreens leaves a neighborhood, they disrupt the entire community.” When they leave, she said, people don’t have ready access to necessities such as medications, baby supplies and more, in addition to all the jobs that are lost.

Despite Pressley claiming that Walgreens is providing “no transition resources,” the company is actually doing plenty in that regard. It is transferring all patient files to another Walgreens location that’s only about one mile from the Roxbury store, and it’s also providing same-day prescription delivery for the next 90 days for free.

Last June, Walgreens CEO Rosalind Brewer announced the company would be closing 150 stores in the U.S. — and another 300 in the UK — by the end of August 2024. It also announced plans to slash about 10% of its U.S. workforce in corporate and office support roles.

The company has said it takes into account “several factors” when deciding to close a store, including how the buying habits of consumers are changing as well as a particular market’s dynamics.

In other words, if people aren’t frequenting a location as much as they used to, or if a location is experiencing a significant uptick in theft, then it finds itself on the Walgreens chopping block.

That’s basic business for any for-profit company, which Walgreens certainly is.