By Sarah Nassauer 

Walmart Inc. said it would put firearms and ammunition back on the sales floors of its U.S. stores, reversing a decision earlier in the week to remove the displays to prevent potential looting.

"After civil unrest earlier this week resulted in damage to several of our stores, consistent with actions we took over the summer, we asked stores to move firearms and ammunition from the sales floor to a secure location in the back of the store in an abundance of caution," the company said Friday.

"As the current incidents have remained geographically isolated, we have made the decision to begin returning these products to the sales floor today," Walmart said.

The retail giant, which sells firearms in about half of its 4,700 U.S. stores, previously said it was removing the items to prevent any potential theft of firearms amid social unrest. It said customers could purchase guns and ammunition upon request even when they were not on display.

There have been days of violent protests and looting this week in Philadelphia after police fatally shot a Black man holding a knife in the city Monday.

In a letter to store managers Wednesday, Walmart asked staff to pull guns from shelves "due to the current unrest in isolated areas of the country and out of an abundance of caution."

Walmart also removed firearms and ammunition from stores this summer in the wake of George Floyd's killing by police after several of Walmart's stores were damaged during violence.

The country's largest retailer is still a big seller of guns and ammunition, even though it has pared its offerings in recent years. Last year, it stopped selling ammunition that can be used in semiautomatic rifles and handguns after a deadly mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas.

In 2018, the company raised the minimum age to purchase guns or ammunition to 21 after a deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla.

Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon said last year that stores would continue to sell firearms and ammunition that appeal to hunters.

Write to Sarah Nassauer at sarah.nassauer@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 30, 2020 15:16 ET (19:16 GMT)

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