Target to close 9 stores citing violence, theft


Target said Tuesday it will close nine stores in urban areas in four states, citing increased violence related to theft and organized retail crime.

As of October 21, three stores in Portland, Oregon, one in Seattle, one in New York and three in the San Francisco-Oakland area will close. Retail crime at those locations has reached levels that threaten security and “business performance,” Target said.

“We know our stores play an important role in their communities, but we can only be successful when the working and shopping environment is safe for everyone,” the company said in a news release.

Some employees will have the opportunity to transfer to other stores, the company said.

Target has been vocal about its troubles with theft and organized retail crime. Chief Executive Brian Cornell said on a second-quarter earnings call last month that stores saw “a 120 percent increase in incidents of theft involving violence or threats of violence” during the first five months of the year.

Target said in May that shrink — the loss of inventory for a reason other than sales — led to a $500 million loss. But its Chief Financial Officer Michael Fidelke would not say how much could be attributed to external theft.

Shoplifting, organized crime and violence have become significant concerns for regional and national retailers. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Dollar Tree, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Ulta were among the companies that marked shrinkage during recent earnings calls. The mounting losses have prompted even giants like Walmart to close their locations.

A DC grocery store is removing Tide, Colgate and Advil to prevent theft

According to the National Retail Federation’s security survey, outside theft accounted for an average of 36 percent of shrinkage-related losses in physical stores in 2022.

“The situation is becoming more critical,” David Johnston, the retail federation’s vice president for asset protection and retail operations, said in a news release Tuesday. “Beyond the financial impact of these crimes, violence and security concerns remain a priority for all retailers regardless of size or category.”

Overall, retailers’ losses last year totaled $112.1 billion, up from $93.9 billion in 2021, according to the survey. But more than half of those losses were due to employee theft and operational and processing errors, which were 29 and 27 percent, respectively.

In recent months, stores across the country have been targeted by flash-mob robberies, after-hours vandalism and theft in the middle of the supply chain. Target said it has made several changes to help combat theft and organized retail crime, including hiring more security team members, using third-party services, locking some merchandise and adding protective measures and de- Escalation techniques include investing in training employees. The company also invested in technology updates to better detect and track cyber crimes.

The company was also involved in the recently passed Consumer Information Act, which took effect in June and requires online marketplaces to report and verify information about high-volume third-party sellers.

Target has faced issues related to theft this year. Disturbances occurred at multiple store locations Bomb threats and shootings after participating in Pride Month.

Some retailers have adopted other methods to combat theft. To avoid closing an unprofitable store, regional grocery chain Giant Food is removing all national label products from its beauty and health areas and implementing receipt checks at the door. The company has already hired more security guards, closed secondary entrances and limited the number of items allowed through self-checkout areas.

Dollar Tree Chief Executive Richard Dreiling said the retailer is “taking a very defensive approach to shrinking.” The chain reported a 30 per cent decline in gross profit margin last quarter, mainly due to shrinkage. Now more items will be locked up, moved behind counters or simply turned off.

In Downtown Chicago, Walgreens launched a new anti-theft store with only two aisles of “low-value” products like Band-Aids, snacks and batteries, while the rest are kept behind a counter and stored digitally. Must be ordered.

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