Target Stores Are Now Locking Up Entire Aisles to Prevent Theft
You might soon see more glass cases at a Target store near you.
Retail theft has become a major concern for companies nationwide, leading to $94.5 billion in losses in 2021, the National Retail Federation reported last year. Several retailers continue to try to thwart shoplifters, like Lowe's and Home Depot, which sell power tools that don't work if they aren't paid for. Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens, have all tried different anti-theft strategies, including removing products, banning bags, and simply locking up merchandise. Now, Target is taking drastic measures as well, putting entire aisles behind glass cases. Read on to find out how your next Target trip could be affected.
READ THIS NEXT: Target Is Closing Multiple Locations, Starting May 13.
Social media users were stunned to see a full aisle of glass doors.
A TikTok video that has now gone viral shows an entire aisle at Target covered with locked glass doors. The video, posted by @srdreamtorch on April 20, was filmed at a San Francisco Target, which was later identified as the store on the corner of 13th Street and Folsom Street, Insider reported.
Target told Fox News that not all products at the store are locked up, but the move is in response to growing concerns about "organized retail crime." The outlet also reported that San Francisco, in particular, has seen an uptick in "smash-and-grab thefts" and ransackers.
In a statement to Best Life, a Target spokesperson further explained that the locked cases are only one component of its strategy.
"At Target, we take a multi-layered approach to combatting theft," the spokesperson said. "This includes in-store technology, training for store leaders and security team members, and partnerships with law enforcement agencies as well as retail trade associations."
Other Target stores were locked up late last year.
According to several videos posted on TikTok, other Target stores have had these measures in place since last fall.
Videos dating back to Oct. 2022 depict similar situations at Target stores in Hawaii, New York, Pennsylvania, and California, with everything from skincare products to vitamins to baby formula secured behind clear glass doors. In order to purchase these items, you have to summon a Target employee—via a red button on the glass door—to come unlock the cases for you.
The Target spokesperson told Best Life that the company doesn't typically disclose where these anti-theft cases are introduced, noting that they are added to stores as needed.
"On a limited basis, we also employ theft-deterrent merchandising strategies, such as locking cases, for categories that are prone to theft," the spokesperson said. "While we don't share specifics on these strategies, these decisions are generally made at a local level."
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Shoppers aren't happy with the security measures.
On social media, Target shoppers have been quick to note the inconvenience associated with these new anti-theft measures.
"Look at what y'all made Target do," TikToker @layna_angelique said in an Oct. 2022 video, filming a locked-up aisle filled with body wash and lotion. "[I used to be able] to walk up, put it in my cart, and keep moving. Now I have to wait for somebody to come unlock it."
Other TikTokers pointed out that the policy makes it more difficult to test the scents of different products or compare ingredients.
Some social media users went so far as to say that they switched to online shopping to avoid these hurdles, speculating that Target's business may end up suffering as a result.
"I feel like they lose more money this way," a commenter wrote on one video. "I'm not gonna buy anything if I have to ask permission for it."
In San Francisco, some stores are closing as a result of crime.
While the Target on Folsom Street is just the latest to take preventive measures, it's not the only retailer in the area concerned about safety and security in its stores.
Earlier this month, a Whole Foods shuttered in downtown San Francisco, with the company citing "employee safety" as the reason. A spokesperson previously told Best Life that the closure is temporary, but there's no set reopening date.
"I'm incredibly disappointed but sadly unsurprised by the temporary closure of Mid-Market's Whole Foods," San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Matt Dorsey tweeted on April 10. "Our neighborhood waited a long time for this supermarket, but we're also well aware of problems they've experienced with drug-related retail theft, adjacent drug markets, and the many safety issues related to them."
This week, Anthropologie also confirmed its Union Square store in San Francisco is closing next month. The retailer didn't provide specific reasons for the closure, but a local business owner told the California Globe that crime is likely a factor.
"Everyone is very concerned about robberies, but also what, if anything, the police will do about them," Richard Wallace, former manager of a "high-end" store in Union Square, told the outlet. "They're worried about rent going up. They're worried that they aren't seeing as many customers as before since less people are working around there. They're worried that more smashed store fonts will only keep people away again. Stores that leave give at least some of these as reasons."