Las Vegas Sun

September 24, 2018

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24 hours no more: Some Las Vegas stores closing early

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Yasmina Chavez

Shopping carts block an entrance to the Walmart Supercenter at 6464 N. Decatur Blvd. early Thursday, June 21, 2018. The store changed its hours in February from 24 hours a day to 6 a.m. to midnight.

Las Vegas has always been considered a quintessential 24-hour city, a place where anything done at 3 p.m. can also be done at 3 a.m.

But in recent years, some round-the-clock discount stores, supermarkets and pharmacies have been cutting back their hours and closing overnight.

The reason, according to retailers and analysts: Fewer late-night customers, an increased threat of shoplifting and competition from online retailers such as Amazon.

As recently as five years ago, more than a dozen Walmart Supercenters in the valley were open 24 hours a day. Now there are only three. The other dozen open at 6 a.m. and close at midnight.

Smith’s, which operates 36 grocery stores in Clark County, has 15 stores that are still open 24 hours, down from 22 in January 2017.

Just five of 31 Albertsons supermarkets in the valley are still open 24 hours, as three more stores cut their hours last year. Also last year, four of eight Vons locations in the valley dropped their around-the-clock schedules.

Walmart spokesman Casey Staheli said fewer people are shopping in the middle of the night. Smith’s spokeswoman Aubriana Martindale also said light overnight volume at its Las Vegas stores has made it more costly to stay open around the clock.

David Livingston, a supermarket analyst who owns Indiana-based DJL Research, said stores nationwide are reducing their hours.

“Most likely, these stores are just not doing enough business,” Livingston said. “Amazon is getting bigger, and there’s no top-line growth due to online shopping.”

Staying open overnight has proven to be a growing expense, with fewer shoppers and a higher risk of theft, Livingston said. Rising wages and a labor shortage caused by near record-low unemployment have also put pressure on stores to cut their hours, he said.

Some pharmacies in the Las Vegas area have also reduced their hours.

Dr. Cary Logan operates a 24-hour urgent care service on the Strip, making house calls to hotel rooms of sick and injured visitors.

Logan, who sees about 10 patients a day, said getting prescriptions filled in the middle of the night is getting tougher.

All nine pharmacies on the Strip close before 10 p.m., so Logan refers his patients to two 24-hour Walgreens pharmacies, one on Flamingo Road at Maryland Parkway and the other on Jones Boulevard at Spring Mountain Road.

“Imagine the 7-year-old who’s having an asthma attack at his hotel and whose family has to get in a taxi to drive off the Strip,” he said. “At best, it’s just a real inconvenience. Every night, someone on the Strip suffers because they can’t get their medicine.”

Walgreens spokesman Jim Graham said the decision to reduce hours at some stores on and off the Strip was a matter of efficiency. He said the reductions have had “little noticeable impact on our customers” and allows Walgreens to “continue best serving the needs of the community.”

CVS pharmacy spokeswoman Amy Lanctot said the company reduced hours at five valley stores last year to focus on business during times of peak customer demand.

“By adjusting hours, we can ensure that store teams are available to serve customers when they’re most needed,” she said.