(Reuters) - Walmart Inc (WMT.N) will stop keeping personal care products designed for people of color in locked display cases, the retailer said, after the practice drew flak online with many saying it suggested customers for these products cannot be trusted.
“We have made the decision to discontinue placing multicultural hair care and beauty products in locked cases,” the company said in an email statement on Wednesday.
Walmart said the practice was in place in about a dozen of its 4,700 stores in the United States and the cases were in place to deter shoplifters from products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products.
The criticism of the retailer comes at a time when the United States has been rocked by protests against racial discrimination, following the killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, on May 25.
The change in Walmart's policy was prompted by a June 8 CBS News report cbsloc.al/37iJZxv that a Walmart customer had complained of the practice being discriminatory against people of color, while visiting a store in the city of Denver.
“The multi-cultural hair care is all locked behind the glass. That’s so ridiculous,” Lauren Epps, a black woman was quoted as saying in the report.
Many companies have issued statements in support of the black community, in addition to setting up funds to fight systematic racism.
Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon has said bit.ly/3cQ5wi7 the company, along with Walmart Foundation, will commit $100 million to create a new center on racial equity.
(This story has been refiled to fix typo in headline)
Reporting by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Arun Koyyur