Target is closing nine stores, all but one of them in the West, because increasing theft and organized retail crime are putting employees and customers in harm’s way.
Meantime, people broke into several stores in Philadelphia on Tuesday night in a looting spree that went on for eight hours.
Three Target stores in California’s Bay area, three in Portland, Oregon, two in Seattle and one in New York City will shut their doors Oct. 21, according to the Minneapolis-based company.
Target says it cannot continue operating those stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of its workers and customers and contributing to unsustainable business performance.
“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 said in a statement.
“Before making this decision, we invested heavily in strategies to prevent and stop theft and organized retail crime in our stores, such as adding more security team members, using third-party guard services, and implementing theft-deterrent tools across our business. Despite our efforts, unfortunately, we continue to face fundamental challenges to operating these stores safely and successfully.”
Targets still has more than 150 locations open in the markets where the closures are taking place.
Per CBS News, the rise in shoplifting and other incidents at Target locations comes as other retailers say a rise in crime is hurting their business. Whole Foods in April temporarily closed one of its flagship stores in San Francisco, citing concerns that crime in the area endangered employees. Other retailers including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Ulta Beauty have also pointed to rising theft as a factor in shrinking profits.
In Philadelphia on Tuesday, police arrested more than a dozen people who looted multiple stores in the Center City area. Footlocker, Apple and Lululemon were among the stores broken into.
Acting Philadelphia Police Commissioner John Stanford said at a news conference Tuesday night that the looting “had nothing to do” with an earlier protest over charges being dismissed against a former police officer who fatally shot a 27-year-old man last month. Prosecutors refiled the charges hours after the judge dismissed the case, according to USA Today.
“What we had tonight was a bunch of criminal opportunists taking advantage of a situation and making an attempt to destroy our city,” the commissioner said. “It’s not going to be tolerated, we’ve made arrests and we will continue to make arrests.”