Four years ago, Wal-Mart put their 95,478 square foot empty store on Highway 80 East in Clinton, Mississippi on the market for lease. It’s more than two football fields in size — not easy to rent. The building has been an eyesore since 1999, but TV station WLBT reported this week that the old Walmart is being demolished to make way for a new Winn Dixie grocery store. WLBT said “there was a symbolic breaking of the windows with a track hoe at the old Walmart at Highway 80 and Clinton Parkway…and now a Super Winn Dixie will be built there, and the entire strip shopping center will be renovated.” Officials in Clinton told the media it will take about three to four weeks to demolish the building and about a year for everything to be completed.
Another happy ending for one of hundreds of “dark stores”, as Wal-Mart calls them. This Clinton store was not leasable to anyone, and in the end, had to be torn down. The TV report does not say who paid for the demolition, but in this case, the land was worth more than the building. Who knows how long the Winn-Dixie store will operate? Winn-Dixie is a company that has closed stores in the past due to competition from Wal-Mart. The Arkansas retailer says it has about 200 dead stores on the market, but the number can range as high as 400, depending on when you count. Wal-Mart requires anyone leasing their old stores to pledge not to use it for a discount store, warehouse club, or pharmacy. The Clinton store which was demolished, was in all liklihood, less than ten years old. When Wal-Mart leaves a store behind, sometimes the only thing that can be done, is to tear it down. Some communities are now requiring that Wal-Mart show a lease for their old building before they get a permit for their new one. These dead stores were created when Wal-Mart changed its prototype from discount stores to supercenters. Since 1988, hundreds of usable buildings have been boarded up by Wal-Mart and put on the market. For more stories on this subject, search this database by Winn-Dixie or dark stores.