The Walmart in Peoria was one of several dozen that were damaged over the weekend. Social media and local news reports showed images of looting at dozens of Walmart stores from California to Massachusetts, and many locations had to close temporarily because of the unrest.
In a statement, a Walmart spokesman said the company was “monitoring this situation closely as it develops and will continue closing stores in select markets as a safety precaution for our customers and associates.”
The retailer said it would continue to pay workers while the stores remained closed.
Target and Gap, which also owns Old Navy, Athleta, Intermix and Banana Republic, also said that they would pay employees for scheduled shifts at closed stores and potentially redeploy workers to other locations.
Still, the damage comes just as retailers, especially those that sell clothing and other nonessential items, were beginning to open up after they were forced to shutter in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“We’re all crossing our fingers that this period will be a short one,” said Matthew W. Lazenby, chief executive of Whitman Family Development, which oversees the high-end Bal Harbour Shops outside Miami.
“This pandemic has hit retail hard and of course, just as a lot of these stores are starting to try to bounce back, the civil unrest that spread this weekend has forced a lot of stores to close,” Mr. Lazenby said. “People are already nervous and already have some trepidation around the public health risk so this on top of that doesn’t make it any better.”
Even though the shopping center is miles from the site of protests in downtown Miami and in Fort Lauderdale, a handful of retailers, including Tiffany, Moncler, Saks Fifth Avenue and Intermix, which is owned by Gap, erected barricades in front of their stores on Sunday, Mr. Lazenby said. The stores took the step as Miami-Dade County announced a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Sunday, he said, adding that the center had just reopened on May 18.