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Walmart to Stop Locking Up Black Beauty Products

Walmart will put an end to its practice of locking up personal-care products geared toward black people in some of its stores.

Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report will put an end to its practice of locking up personal-care products geared toward black people in display cases in some of its stores, the retailer announced.

"We have made the decision to discontinue placing multicultural hair care and beauty products in locked cases," the company said in an email statement obtained by Reuters.

Walmart said the practice was in place in about a dozen of its 4,700 stores in the United States, according to Reuters. The cases were in place to deter shoplifters from products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal-care products, the retailer said.

The change in policy follows widespread criticism of the practice on social media, which itself followed a CBS News report this week about a Walmart customer who had called out the practice as discriminatory while visiting a Denver store.

“If I want Suave or Tresumme or Pantene, it’s out. The multicultural hair care is all locked behind the glass. That’s so ridiculous,” said Lauren Epps, a black woman looking to purchase a scarf for her hair.

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"The multicultural hair care is all locked behind the glass. That's so ridiculous," Epps was quoted as saying in the report.

It also follows nationwide protests against racism and racial profiling following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer after being detained for allegedly trying to purchase cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill.

Many companies have issued statements in support of the black community, in addition to setting up funds to fight systematic racism. 

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon has said the company, along with Walmart Foundation, will commit $100 million to create a new center on racial equity.

Shares of Walmart were up 049% at $121.85 in trading on Thursday.