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Walmart Inc will stop keeping personal care products designed for people of colour 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 e-mail 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.

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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 that a Walmart customer had complained of the practice being discriminatory against people of colour, while visiting a store in the city of Denver.

“The multicultural 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 the company, along with Walmart Foundation, will commit $100-million to create a new centre on racial equity.

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