Target has announced that it will close nine stores across four states, citing ongoing crime in the areas as the main reason to shut the doors.
“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,” the company said in the release.
The affected stores are in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland and will cease operations effective October 21.
Before the ultimate decision to close the stores, Target stated that it “invested heavily” in efforts to combat the instances of crime, including increased security personnel, third-party guard services, and theft-deterrent tools, but despite the efforts, the big box retailer was unable to fully squash the problem, and can no longer operate the stores “safely and successfully.”
The decision comes a month after Target CEO Brian Cornell said in an earnings call in August that incidents or threats of violence were up 120% for the first five months of 2023 as compared to the year before.
In the wake of the store closures, Target’s efforts to tackle retail crime presses on. The company says it is continuing to make “significant investments,” including increasing security staffing, implementing theft-deterrent tools, and enhancing cyber defense.
Target’s decision to close nine stores comes amid rising instances of crime and theft in the retail space. The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported on Tuesday that the average loss due to shrinkage, which includes theft, fraud, damage, and other factors, cost retailers $112.1 billion in 2022, up from $93.9 billion in 2021. Additionally, 67% of survey respondents reported witnessing more violence from organized retail crime in 2022 as compared to a year ago.
Several big-name retailers, such as Dollar Tree, Nike, and Walmart have shuttered stores or ramped up efforts over the past year to address ongoing crime, but instances of violence and theft have continued.
This week, in an eight-hour crime rampage spanning Tuesday night through Wednesday morning, numerous retail stores in Philadelphia were looted by a large group of individuals, including many juveniles. Beginning around 8 p.m., stores including Lululemon, the Apple Store, and Footlocker were heavily damaged in what authorities believe was a “coordinated attack.”