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'Build Back Better' Post Claims to List US Store Closings Under Biden. Here's the Truth

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

In March 2024 – months before the November U.S. elections – users on Facebook shared a copied-and-pasted post claiming to show a list of store and bank-branch closings that occurred during President Joe Biden's term in office. Popular versions of the post began with references to either "Bidenomics 101" or the Biden 2020 campaign slogan "Build Back Better." Snopes has yet to locate the original post or the name of the person who wrote the text.

https://www.facebook.com/pnwtennis/posts/pfbid0Y1FbenzmkWeGM71Yphg3S3a5ej2bkDwNEnFUMxKrCaKvrXjAMPRMLaTjkqmQSNFEl

The same post was shared far and wide on Facebook. It was also reposted on LinkedIn, Truth SocialX and even a volleyball message board. In other words, it went viral.

The post reads as follows:

You wanted "Build Back Better"?  . . . 
Well...Here it is!!!

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).

Bed bath and beyond is closing its remaining 360 stores.

Lowes has closed 50 stores.

Macy's is closing 150 stores (mainly blue)

Starbucks has closed 61 stores (mainly blue)

Home Depot is closing 15 stores

Dollar Tree is closing 1,000 stores

Foot Locker is closing 400 stores

Gap is closing 350 stores

Party City is closing 24 stores (mainly blue)

Big Lots is closing stores in Cali and Colorado

Burger King is closing 400 stores

Best Buy is closing 20 stores

Boston Market is closing 27 stores

Kmart only has 2 stores left

Sears closed all but 22 stores

Regal Cinemas has closed 429 movie theaters

Kroger grocery chain has closed 413 stores

US Bank is closing 23 branches

Wells Fargo is closing over 60 branches

Capital One is closing 50 branches

Bank of America is closing 20 branches

All because the economy is so wonderful.

Two dozen businesses were listed in the post. Only six of the businesses included parentheses about the supposed closures occurring in blue (Democratic) states, as opposed to red (Republican) states. If the political point being promoted by the post was not only that these closures were happening on Biden's watch but that they also occurred in blue states, why did only 25 percent of the list mention blue states? One Facebook commenter asked of the post, with a bit of snark, "If the economies in red states are so wonderful, why are y'all complaining?"

Further, the list made no mention of struggles experienced by brick-and-mortar businesses on a number of different factors: the rise of online shopping in recent decades, global inflation and the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, not to mention the fact some of the businesses had already begun to reduce their numbers of stores in previous years during other presidential administrations, such as with Bed Bath & Beyond, Kmart, Macy's and Sears.

Snopes researched each of these companies in the list to check the facts. While the list of purported closings did partially contain some truth, we found it to be poorly pieced together, somewhat outdated, largely misleading and ultimately unreliable. The person who originated the post either put in very little effort to research and then report the facts or purposely sought to promote inaccurate information.

Walmart

"Walmart is closing 23 stores in 8 states (all blue)." This rumor claimed the retail giant plans to close 23 stores in the weeks or months ahead.

A spokesperson for Walmart told Snopes by email this claim was "not true."

AL.com previously reported about six store closings planned in 2024 in California, Maryland and Ohio. Ohio was a red state for former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. California and Maryland both went blue for Biden in 2020. The article also mentioned Walmart closed 20 stores in 2023, in a mix of both red and blue states. Further, and importantly, the reporting mentioned Walmart's plans for future store openings and expansion – the opposite sentiment of what the people sharing the viral Facebook post were attempting to promote.

Target

"Target is closing 9 stores in 4 states (all blue)." This claim was outdated.

In September 2023, Target announced it would be closing nine stores due to "theft and organized retail crime," Axios reported. The planned closures were for stores in the blue states of California, New York, Oregon and Washington.

An investigation published in October 2023 by Popular Information found data it said conflicted with Target's statement about why the nine stores were closing. The reporting said the data revealed the stores being closed "had lower levels of theft than nearby stores that have remained open."

Walgreens

"Walgreens is closing 900 stores (mostly blue)." This was false.

This statement indicated the person who originated the viral Facebook post likely didn't bother to open some of the articles found in search results. For example, a search of Google for "Walgreens is closing 900 stores" (without quotes) found a CNN article at the top of the results from 2023 mentioning Walgreens. However, the number of "900 stores" was an old figure and specifically referred to CVS. Also, some previous closures were cited as having occurred during Trump's administration and in a mix of both red and blue states, as CNN reported:

CVS, the largest US chain, closed 244 stores between 2018 and 2020. In 2021, it announced plans to close 900 stores by 2024.

Walgreens said in 2019 it would close 200 stores and in June announced an additional 150 store closures.

The reporting cited several reasons why brick-and-mortar pharmacies had been shuttering "for years," including for example the online availability of prescription drugs, as well as retail theft.

Bed Bath & Beyond

"Bed Bath & Beyond is closing its remaining 360 stores." This information was true but also was outdated.

Bed Bath & Beyond closed all of its remaining stores in 2023. Further, the company's sales figures had reportedly already been declining for more than a decade, in particular due to competition from other large retailers who were able to beat Bed Bath & Beyond's prices, even with its signature 20-percent-off coupons.

Lowe's

"Lowe's has closed 50 stores." This information was outdated.

In November 2018, the hardware-store chain announced it would be closing 51 locations. At the time, Trump was president, not Biden.

Macy's

"Macy's is closing 150 stores (mainly blue)." The number in this statement is true, with some context about previous store closures under Trump.

In February 2024, The Associated Press reported Macy's announced the closures of 150 stores, with 50 of those closures happening by the end of the year. At the same time, the article also added the closures "marked the second-biggest store cuts since February 2020" – when Trump was in office.

Further, the story said "Macy's did not provide a list of planned closures." This begs the question of how the person who wrote the viral Facebook post could possibly have known the closures would happen in "mainly blue" states.

Starbucks

"Starbucks has closed 61 stores (mainly blue)." This claim was misleading and lacked context.

So far in 2024, Starbucks had closed 17 U.S. stores in a mix of both red and blue states, at least according to StarbucksEverywhere.net. Further, missing from the viral Facebook post was the fact Starbucks' own publicly accessible financial statement says the company opened 483 new stores and closed the far lower number of 103 locations in its fiscal year of 2023.

Home Depot

"Home Depot is closing 15 stores." This news was very outdated and came from the year 2008, all the way back during former President George W. Bush's administration.

"We plan to open approximately 80 new stores over the next five years," Senior Executive Vice President Ann-Marie Campbell said during a financial earnings call held in February 2024.

Dollar Tree

"Dollar Tree is closing 1,000 stores." This was true. The news involved both Dollar Tree and Family Dollar. Dollar Tree owns Family Dollar.

In March 2024, Dollar Tree announced it would close nearly 1,000 of its owned  stores. The reasons for the closures were cited as being "years of mismanagement and poor conditions in stores," a fine of "more than $40 million for a rat infestation at a warehouse that forced hundreds of stores to temporarily close," inflation and the reduction of benefits for low-income families, all according to CNN.

Foot Locker

"Foot Locker is closing 400 stores." This was outdated, in that the news was announced in March 2023 and was missing the context of the company's future plans.

"Foot Locker plans to shutter more than 400 of its in-mall stores as it pivots its business strategy to connect with niche markets," according to CBSNews.com. "The store closures are part of the company's 'Lace Up' plan to 'reset' its business and grow its total revenue to $9.5 billion by 2026, Foot Locker executives said."

Gap

"Gap is closing 350 stores." This news was outdated, in that it was announced during Trump's administration.

"Goodbye Gap: Retailer, to shutter 350 stores by 2024," The Associated Press reported in October 2020, specifying closures for both Gap and Banana Republic, which are both owned by Gap Inc.

"The moves come as Gap and other clothing retailers are trying to reinvent themselves during the pandemic, which forced many non-essential stores to temporarily close in the spring and early summer," AP published. "The lockdown of the economy led many shoppers to shift more of their spending to online, which many experts believe will be permanent."

The planned closures of 220 Gap stores and 130 Banana Republic locations have since been completed, according to an announcement on the company's website. The closures occurred in both red and blue states.

Party City

"Party City is closing 24 stores (mainly blue)." It's true Party City has closed some stores in recent years.

"Party City is planning to close over 30 stores across the country — here's the full list," Business Insider reported in May 2023. The closures occurred in both red and blue states.

Citing reporting from Reuters, Business Insider published, "The retailer has struggled since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Sales lagged during lockdowns, and supply-chain disruptions in the years since have hampered inventory levels and helium has been in short supply."

Big Lots

"Big Lots is closing stores in [California] and Colorado." This news was outdated, in that it was announced in January 2023.

In January 2023, Business Insider reported Big Lots opened 50 new stores in 2022 but closed a "similar or slightly higher" amount, according to CFO Jonathan Ramsden:

Some of those closures are happening because Big Lots plans to sell the store sites, Ramsden said. In other cases, the company is closing locations that it says are "underperforming."

...

The changes to Big Lots' store network come as the company faces declining sales. Historically high inflation has hit low-income consumers, Big Lots' primary customer base, particularly hard, CEO Bruce Thorn said in December [2022]. That's led many of them to hold off on buying the non-essential items that Big Lots sells, he added.

Burger King

"Burger King is closing 400 stores." This news was outdated, in that the developments were announced in 2023. Further, some context was missing from this claim.

In May 2023, Today.com reported, "Burger King will close up to 400 stores by the end of the year." The end of the article also noted the important financial context, "Despite the store closures, Burger King U.S. reported sales rose by 8.7 percent."

More recently, in an article published by Restaurant Dive in February 2024, it was reported Burger King exceeded expectations of profitability in 2023.

Best Buy

"Best Buy is closing 20 stores." This was not a false statement.

On March 20, 2024, ABC7.com reported, "Best Buy closes 24 stores this year, another 10-15 by next year, company says." The article noted, "The retailer will close larger stores, and set up smaller stores with vibrant layouts in markets where it has no physical presence."

Further, in February 2021, an article from USA Today provided the following context regarding past store closures taking place during Trump's administration, as well as some of the effects the pandemic had on the company:

Best Buy could close more stores than usual in 2021 as the shift to online shopping accelerates with people more reluctant to venture indoors during COVID-19, CEO Corie Barry said [...]

...

"As part of the review process, we have closed approximately 20 large-format locations each of the past two years and expect to close a higher number this year," Barry said.

Boston Market

"Boston Market is closing 27 stores." This was misleading.

In August 2023, KSBY.com reported 27 Boston Market stores in New Jersey would all be closing. However, as the reporting noted, the closures were temporary and had been ordered by state officials after an investigation was conducted involving allegations of violating labor laws. The state lifted its stop-work order in September, according to RestaurantBusinessOnline.com.

Kmart

"Kmart only has 2 stores left." This is true. However, it's difficult to see how the downfall of Kmart – likely a familiar topic of conversation for most adult Americans, including the users who reposted the viral Facebook post – has anything to do with the current president or past presidents.

Sears

"Sears closed all but 22 stores." It's unclear where this number was sourced from.

Sears filed for bankruptcy in 2018. At the time, Trump was president, not Biden. As of October 2023, only 12 locations remained, according to CNN.

Regal Cinemas

"Regal Cinemas has closed 429 movie theaters." It's unclear where this number was sourced from. Snopes emailed a company spokesperson for more information but did not receive a response by press time.

Here's what we know: Regal Cinemas' owner Cineworld Group filed for bankruptcy in September 2022, following a crushing financial time for movie theaters in the fallout of the pandemic. As of the end of 2023, Regal Cinemas operated 428 movie theaters.

The New York Times previously reported more details about why some movie theaters were closing, including for example the pandemic and the fact moviegoers have more entertainment options than ever at home.

Kroger

"Kroger grocery chain has closed 413 stores." This was false.

The truth of the matter was, in September 2023, USA Today reported, "Kroger and Albertsons supermarkets will sell more than 400 stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers for nearly $2 billion as part of their proposed $25 billion merger, the companies announced." In other words, the news was reported as involving a merger, not store closings.

U.S. Bank

"U.S. Bank is closing 23 branches." This claim had some truth to it.

Here are the facts: U.S. Bancorp, the parent company of U.S. Bank, closed 221 branches in 2023, according to AmericanBanker.com. It's unclear how many of these closures were specifically for U.S. Bank.

The reporting included a bit of context. First, the article said, "U.S. Bancorp's 2022 acquisition of MUFG Union Bank paved the way for some of its branch closures this year. The closures associated with the deal were 'typically within a mile of each other,' CEO Andy Cecere said." Second, one reason for the closures was cited in the story as an effort to "reduce expenses and reinvest some of the resulting savings in their digital capabilities." It's unclear if all of these closures were within the U.S.

Wells Fargo

"Wells Fargo is closing over 60 branches." This claim also had some truth to it.

According to the aforementioned AmericanBanker.com article, Wells Fargo closed 249 branches in 2023, which accounted for 5.6 percent of its network. The article cited one reason for the closures as being "consistent declines in teller transactions and other kinds of in-branch business," according to Wells Fargo CFO Michael Santomassimo. It's unclear if all of these closures were within the U.S.

Capital One

"Capital One is closing 50 branches." This news was outdated.

A search of Google for "Capital One closing branches" (without quotes) found the top result being an article from 2019, when Trump was president. Again, as with so many of these claims about companies and closures, it appeared likely the person who wrote up the viral Facebook post only looked at search results and did not bother to click on the articles to read them, just as the users who shared the post did not appear to perform proper research before reposting inaccurate claims.

Bank of America

"Bank of America is closing 20 branches." This news was true, in that it was announced in 2023.

In November 2023, CBSNews.com reported, "Over 20 Bay Area Bank of America locations, including ATMs, closing."

Further, had the user who created the viral Facebook post looked into the matter a bit more, the person might have found reporting indicating Bank of America had more than 100 planned branch closures in 2023 and further closures in 2024.

Needless to say, we don't recommend copying and pasting posts featuring a list of multiple rumors. Historically speaking, it's highly unlikely such a post – especially a politically centric one – will be wholly accurate.

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