Target to close 9 stores across the country due to theft violence

October 03, 2023: On Tuesday, Target announced the closure of nine stores in major cities across the country, attributing this decision to violence, theft, and organized retail crime.

 The affected locations include one store in Harlem, New York City, two in Seattle, three in the San Francisco-Oakland area, and three in Portland, Oregon, with a scheduled closure date of October 21.

In a news release, Target explained its rationale: “We cannot continue operating these stores because theft and organized retail crime threaten the safety of our team and guests and contribute to unsustainable business performance. Our stores play a vital role in their communities, but their success relies on a safe working and shopping environment.”

This move by Target is notable for explicitly linking store closures to the issue of retail crime. Target, which operates 2,000 stores in the U.S., has been vocal about the challenges posed by organized retail crime, which has led to increased shrinkage referring to losses from damaged, misplaced, or stolen merchandise.

During the announcement of its fiscal second-quarter earnings, Target’s CEO, Brian Cornell, emphasized the impact of organized retail crime, stating that it was expected to reduce the company’s full-year profitability by over $500 million compared to the previous year. Despite these challenges, Cornell reiterated the company’s reluctance to close stores, highlighting their importance in creating jobs, generating taxes, and serving local communities.

Target’s stance on this issue has also prompted discussion and advocacy for legislative reform within the retail industry, including support for bills like the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act following the passage of the Inform Act, which addresses the sale of stolen and counterfeit the products on online marketplaces.

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