Retail major Target Corp. is closing nine stores across four states, effective October 21, citing increased theft and organized retail crime that threaten the safety of team and guests.
In a statement, the company said it cannot continue operating these stores as theft and organized retail crime are also contributing to unsustainable business performance amid unsafe working and shopping environment.
The company will close one store in New York City Market in Harlem, while 96 stores remain open in the market, employing more than 20,000 team members.
In Seattle, 2 stores will be closed, while 22 stores remain open, employing nearly 4,000 team members. San Francisco/Oakland Market would see the closure of three stores, while 32 stores would remain open. Portland Market’s 3 stores will be closed, while 15 stores will remain open.
The company said, “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.”
After the store closures, the affected employees will be offered the opportunity to transfer to other stores.
Target further said it will continue to combat theft and organized retail crime by making significant investments in stores, technology and in communities. These efforts in stores include payroll investments in additional security team members, using third-party guard services, and implementing theft-deterrent tools across business. On a limited basis, the company plans to implement tools such as locking cases for merchandise categories that are prone to theft.
Training will be given to store leaders and security team members so as to protect themselves and de-escalate potential safety issues associated with organized retail crime incidents.
In Technology, the company would make significant investments in cyber defense to combat retail theft, fraud and abuse. Further, the company is partnering with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations or HSI division to combat retail theft, among other measures.
Earlier in May, Target CEO Brian Cornell in the first quarter earnings call had said that retail theft was a worsening trend that emerged last year.
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