Target Closing Stores Due to Theft and "Retail Crime"—Is Your Location Impacted?
The retailer has announced plans to shut down nine locations in October.
Over the last few years, retail theft and crime have become a large-scale issue. Many retailers have attempt to tackle the rising problem with innovations, such as Walgreens locking up entire freezer sections and Home Depot rolling out technology that prevents stolen power towels from turning on. Walmart's CEO has even threatened to close stores because of shoplifting concerns, but now, another retailer is actually following through on that. Read on to discover which Target stores will be closing soon because of theft and retail crime.
Target officials have identified retail theft as an "urgent issue."
Retail theft has been continuously impacting many companies since 2020, but Target has been one of the most outspoken about it. In a May earnings call with analysts, Target CEO Brian Cornell called organized retail crime (ORC) an "urgent issue" for the retailer and others, as coordinated shoplifting attacks have negatively affected finances. At the time, Target CFO Michael Fiddelke noted that the company expected worsening retail theft to reduce its full-year profitability for 2023 by more than $500 million compared to 2022.
"While shrink can be driven by multiple factors, theft and organized retail crime are increasingly urgent issues impacting the team and our guests and other retailers," Cornell said during the call. "Worsening shrink rates are putting significant pressure on our financial results. More specifically, based on the results we've seen so far this year, we expect that shrink will reduce our profitability by more than half a billion dollars compared with last year."
The retailer has been reluctant to close stores.
It's not just the financial impact that Target is worried about, however. During that May call, Cornell said that the retail theft problem has put the retailer's team and guests "in harm's way," making it a major safety issue. "The unfortunate fact is violent incidents are increasing at our stores and across the entire retail industry," he said. "As we work to address the problem, the safety of our guests and our team members will always be our primary concern."
Still, Target previously seemed reluctant to shut down stores as a result, with Cornell explicitly noting that the company was focused on keeping stores open in the markets where these problems have been occurring. "We do not want to close stores. We know how important our stores are. They create local jobs, they generate taxes, they're very important for those local shoppers, and they play a critical role in communities across the country," Cornell said on a separate call with reporters in May, per CNBC.
"We'll continue to do everything in our power to keep our doors open," he added. "At the same time, we'll be closely monitoring the safety of our team and guests as well as the financial impact to our business as we determine the right path forward at Target."
But now Target is changing its tune.
Despite earlier reluctancy, it seems that Target is no longer able to keep all of its stores open amid rising theft and retail crime. In Sept. 26 press release, the company announced that it will be closing select stores in order to prioritize the safety of its team members and guests. "At Target, we take the decision to close stores very seriously, and only do so after taking meaningful steps to invest in the guest experience and improve business performance," the retailer stated in its release. "With that said, we have made the difficult decision to close nine Target stores across four states."
According to the release, all nine stores will shut their doors permanently on Oct. 21, and the closures will affect four major U.S. cities: New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland. In New York City, one location is being shuttered in Harlem at 517 E 117th Street. Seattle will be losing two stores—one in the University Way neighborhood at 4535 University Way NE, and the other in the Ballard area at 1448 NW Market St.
Meanwhile, Target is planning to close three stores each in the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland markets. The retailer is shuttering its location at Folsom and 13th Street in San Francisco, as well as two Bay Area stores—one at 2650 Broadway in Oakland and the other at 4301 Century Blvd in Pittsburg. In Portland, stores will shutter in the Galleria neighborhood at 939 SW Morrison St, the Powell neighborhood at 3031 SE Powell Blvd, and the Hollywood neighborhood at 4030 NE Halsey St.
The company said other attempts to curb crime have failed.
Target explicitly stated that the rising risk of ORC is the reason it has decided to close these nine stores. "In this case, 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 retailer explained. "We know that our stores serve an important role in their communities, but we can only be successful if the working and shopping environment is safe for all."
The company even added that it had "invested heavily in strategies to prevent and stop theft and organized retail crime in our stores" before making the decision. This included adding more security team members, using third-party guard services, and even implementing theft-deterrent tools such as locking cases for products that are prone to theft.
"Despite our efforts, unfortunately, we continue to face fundamental challenges to operating these stores safely and successfully," Target said in its release.
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