Target Closes Several Stores Over Violence And Theft

Target has made the decision to close nine of its stores in the United States, citing an alarming increase in violence, theft, and organized retail crime that has apparently put the safety of both customers and employees at risk.

Effective October 21, the affected stores that are spread across four different states include three in the San Francisco-Oakland area, three in Portland, two in Seattle, and one in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City.

In a news release, Target expressed its concern, stating, “We cannot continue operating these stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests, and contributing to unsustainable business performance.”

Target’s CEO, Brian Cornell, spoke out about the challenges the company has faced in recent months. He highlighted a startling 120% surge in-store theft that involved “violence or threats of violence” during the first five months of the year. Consequently, Target is anticipating a reduction of over $500 million in profitability for the full year compared to the previous year.

Cornell emphasized the company’s reluctance to close stores, stating, “We’ll continue to do everything in our power to keep our doors open,” while also pledging to closely monitor the safety of employees and customers, as well as the financial impact on the business.

The rise of organized retail theft has become a pressing issue in cities across the country, with videos capturing hooded figures in dark attire rushing in and out of stores with stolen merchandise, often high-end luxury items. Critics have pointed to progressive prosecutors as contributing to the problem, arguing that they fail to hold criminals accountable.

Earlier this year, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced legislation aimed at addressing the surge in flash mob robberies. This legislation seeks to create a multi-agency federal task force at both state and local levels to enhance cooperation and collaboration in the fight against theft and organized retail crime.

In response to this growing issue, several states have passed laws imposing stricter penalties for those involved in organized retail crime. Target’s decision to close these stores underscores the severity of the problem and the challenges retailers face in combating it.

Target’s unfortunate announcement comes on the heels of a disappointing quarterly report that revealed a 5.4% decline in sales following a national backlash the company faced over its Pride Month clothing collection that was released last May.