Cracker Barrel becomes latest company to flee Portland amid rising crime, retail theft

Cracker Barrel this week became the latest company to announce it is leaving the Portland, Oregon, area shortly after Walmart announced its departure following comments from the CEO that crime and theft were taking their toll.

Cracker Barrel, which has over 600 locations nationwide, blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for its decision to close its final eateries in the Portland metro area.

“As a standard course of business, we continually evaluate the performance of our stores, using various criteria to ensure we are meeting the needs of our guests and our business,” the company said in a statement.

“With that, we are saddened that we have been unable to overcome the impact the pandemic had on our business and have made the difficult decision to close the Beaverton, Tualatin, and Bend locations on March 20. The decision to close a store is never one we take lightly, and our focus right now is in assisting our impacted employees during this transition.”

In a statement to Fox Business asking for specifics on what aspects of the pandemic led to the closures, a Cracker Barrel spokesperson said, “Like so many other companies, the pandemic impacted our business, and we have struggled to staff and profitably run these stores. Despite the extra efforts made, we couldn’t viably continue to keep our doors open.”

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Cracker Barrel becomes latest company to flee Portland amid rising crime, retail theft

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is an American restaurant and gift store chain that serves Southern-inspired food. (iStock / iStock)

Cracker Barrel’s decision comes shortly after Walmart announced it was closing all of its Portland stores due to financial reasons.

“We have nearly 5,000 stores across the U.S. and unfortunately some do not meet our financial expectations,” Walmart said in its announcement, according to KPTV. “While our underlying business is strong, these specific stores haven’t performed as well as we hoped.”

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Walmart sign

Cracker Barrel’s decision comes shortly after Walmart announced it was closing all of its Portland, Oregon, stores due to financial reasons. (REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

Just a few months earlier, Walmart’s CEO had warned that stores will close if retail crime, a significant issue across the country and specifically in Portland, did not subside.

“Theft is an issue. It’s higher than what it has historically been,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said in December on CNBC. He added that “prices will be higher and/or stores will close” if authorities don’t crack down on prosecuting shoplifting crimes.

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Tents in Portland, Oregon

Crime and homelessness have been a growing issue in Portland, Oregon, over the last couple of years. (AP/Craig Mitchelldyer, File / AP Newsroom)

Crime and homelessness have been a growing issue in Portland over the last couple of years, and the Daily Mail reported that over 2,600 downtown businesses have filed a change of address with the U.S. Postal Service.

Last November, a Nike store in northeast Portland abruptly closed after a string of brazen shoplifting incidents.

“It’s gotta stop,” real estate developer and lifelong Portland native Dustin Michael Miller told “Fox & Friends” earlier this month after walking into his office to find bullet holes in the window.

“Our city is out of control. It is unrecognizable. I’ve lived here my whole life, and it’s just deteriorated over the last five years.”

Fox Business’ Emma Colton contributed to this report.

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