Target has decided to close nine stores in four states because of reports of theft, violence, and organized retail crime that put customers and workers in danger.
The company said that as of October 21, three stores in the Oakland-San Francisco area, three more in Portland, two in Seattle, and one in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood will no longer be open.
“We are unable to maintain these stores as they pose a threat to the security of our employees and customers, and also contribute to unsustainable business performance,” a news statement from Target stated.
Prior to making the decision, Target representatives stated that the company had made “heavy” investments in internal security team members and outside guard services as well as other measures to stop and avoid organized retail criminal activity in its stores. However, the company had difficulty containing the rise in retail theft caused by coordinated smash-and-grab robberies that involved sizable groups of thieves.
Target’s CEO, Brian Cornell, stated this past month that the firm has been dealing with an “unacceptable amount” of retail theft, which has escalated in violence and endangers employees.
Cornell said that store thefts involving “violence or even threats of violence” increased by 120% in the very first five months of this year. He also said that Target’s full-year profits will likely be less than $500 million compared with the previous year.
Cornell allegedly stated that following the release of its increasing shrink shown in the fiscal second-quarter revenue report in mid-May, the firm planned to maintain sites.
“We don’t want to shut down stores. We understand how important our shops are.” Cornell said, “They are very important to communities across the country because they create jobs, bring in tax money, and are very significant to local shoppers.” He also said, “We’ll keep doing everything we can to keep the doors open. At the same time, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the safety of our employees and guests as well as the cost to our business as we figure out what to do next at Target.”
Theft from stores by organized groups has increased in cities across the country. Videos from some events show people in dark clothes and hoods quickly entering and leaving stores with goods, usually expensive luxury items.
Some people say that progressive judges are to blame because they let criminals off the hook without major consequences if any arise at all.
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary panel, introduced legislation earlier this year to address the nationwide surge in flash mob robberies. According to their estimates, retailers lose $720,000 for every $1 billion in sales, an increase of 50% since 2015.
Target officials pushed for this bill in their statement this week. It would set up a government task force with members from different agencies working together to fight theft and organized retail crime at the state and local levels.
CNBC said that in the past two years, at least nine different states have passed rules like this one that make the punishments for people who engage in organized retail crime harsher.
Target’s latest news comes after the company released a gloomy quarterly report showing that sales dropped 5.4%, the first time in six years, because of the backlash against its Pride Month collection across the country.