Jesse Jackson protests Kroger closures in predominantly black neighborhoods

The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. joined other black leaders in Cincinnati Tuesday to boycott the business practices of Kroger.

The civil rights leader spoke to Cincinnati leaders about the ongoing fight over FC Cincinnati's plan to put a stadium in the predominantly black West End neighborhood and lend his support to embattled City Manager Harry Black, WCPO reported.

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Jackson has been outspoken recently about Kroger closures in predominantly black neighborhoods. Kroger closed three unprofitable grocery stores in Memphis in February, mirroring its closure of a store in Cincinnati's Walnut Hills neighborhood last year, WCPO reported. The company said its East McMillan Street location had lost millions of dollars over years.

Jackson led rallies in front of the the closed Kroger in Walnut Hills and again outside Kroger's Downtown Cincinnati location.

“This is a pattern across the country,” Jackson said during the protest. “There are enough mouths to be fed and people to be served for Kroger to stay in the community. They may want to leave, but there are people who want to buy.”

A new Kroger replaced the Walnut Hills location, but it was a mile away from the previous location and customers without cars were upset that their neighborhood's store shut down.

Kroger officials told WCPO that the Walnut Hills store was not profitable in 20 of the 30 years it was opened, and actually lost money during those years.

Kroger Co. has not commented on the protest, but has said in the past it has closed stores that are not performing well.

Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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