On Tuesday, retail giant Target announced that it would be shutting down nine locations in four different states, citing a rise in “theft and organized retail crime.”
As Axios reports, the nine stores will all close on October 21st, with the company saying in a statement that the increasing likelihood of mass organized looting is “threatening the safety of our team and guests.” Target also said that the locations in question were “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 announcing the closures. The locations to be shut down include three stores in Portland, Oregon, three in the San Francisco/Oakland area, two in Seattle, and one store in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City.
The rise in looting, often coordinated and executed with dozens, if not hundreds of participants in a matter of minutes, has presented a major threat to retailers in big cities across the country in the last several years. The culprits swarm the store in overwhelming numbers, take as many products as they can, and flee to re-sell their stolen goods online. The National Retail Federation claimed in a report on Tuesday that “retail crime” resulted in a collective loss for the industry of $112.1 billion in 2022 alone.
Other companies that have seen losses and closures due to the crime wave include CVS, Walgreens, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Dick’s CEO Lauren Hobart said in a statement in August that organized theft is “an increasingly serious issue impacting many retailers.”
“It’s quite alarming what’s going on,” Hobart said on an earnings call, answering as to why the company fell short of expectations in its second-quarter earnings. Target had a similar underperformance in the second quarter, with comparable sales falling by 5.4% compared to the second quarter of 2022.