Target to Close Nine Stores Due to Increased Theft and Organized Crime
Target has announced that it will be shutting down nine of its stores in major cities in four states, citing the rise in theft and organized crime as the reason behind the decision. The department store chain is not alone in facing this issue, as retailers of all sizes have reported struggling with in-store crime, impacting their profits. While skeptics question the lack of evidence supporting these claims, Target maintains that the safety of their staff and customers is their top priority.
The stores set to close on October 21 include the East Harlem store in New York, two in Seattle, three in Portland, and three in San Francisco and Oakland. Target has stated that it had implemented additional security measures and anti-theft tools before making the difficult choice to close these locations. Employees affected by the closures will have the option to transfer to other Target stores.
It remains unclear whether the stores were underperforming or failing to meet turnover targets, as Target has not provided specific data on store thefts. Nonetheless, the company had previously estimated a $500 million loss this year due to the increase in theft. Other retailers, such as Nordstrom and Whole Foods, have also closed stores in response to rising crime rates.
In a recent report, the National Retail Federation (NRF) revealed that US retailers incurred $112.1 billion in losses in 2022 due to theft, up from $93.9 billion in the previous year. The group stated that the unknown loss rate rose to 1.6% in 2022, signaling the seriousness of the issue faced by retailers.
Target has pledged to continue investing in security measures to ensure the safety of its remaining stores across the country. The company will collaborate with the US Department of Homeland Security Investigations and increase its threat intelligence and data analysis to combat organized crime in retail. Additionally, Target is advocating for legislation to prevent crime against retailers.
The impact of these store closures extends beyond Target’s bottom line. Burt Flickinger, a retail trade expert, emphasized the negative consequences on the community as jobs are lost, suppliers withdraw, and commercial real estate tax revenues decline. The concern over retail crime is not limited to Target, as small businesses in Oakland have called for increased public safety measures in the face of escalating crime rates.
Target’s decision to close stores highlights the growing challenge retailers face in combating theft and organized crime. While some question the validity of these claims, the rise in crime rates has pushed retailers to make significant investments in security and seek proactive solutions to protect their staff, customers, and businesses moving forward.