Continued theft is the reason cited by Target for closing nine stores across four states, reports the New York Times.
The locations, in New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, Ore. are set to close on Oct. 21, as the retailer attempts to get ahead of a national retail shrink inventory problem that has been making headlines over the last few months.
“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,” Target said in a statement.
Target CEO Brian Cornell warned about a theft problem earlier this year, when he said during a first quarter earnings call that it is on pace to cost the company $500,000 in profit in 2023. At the time, Cornell said theft in Target stores which involved violence or threats was up a staggering 120%.
The Target closings coincide with the release of the National Retail Federation’s survey of big brands, which shows that the average rate of shrink went up from 1.4% of sales in 2021 to 1.6% in 2022.
The rate was also 1.6% in 2019 and 2020, but according to this year’s survey, two-thirds of respondents said they observed more violence and aggression within retail. The crime, they said, was of the type that involves a high volume of merchandise stolen.
The survey also found that 36% of reported shrink in 2023 came from outside theft, with another 29% linked to employee theft.
Target is taking its theft problem and dropping it on the laps of Congress. The retailer, reports the Times, wants lawmakers to support legislation that would create a task force of federal agencies to come up with solutions to retail theft. Store tours with officials showing what is being done to deter theft are also being held.
Retailers have taken some hardcore steps in theft prevention this year. A Giant Food store in Washington, D.C., has removed national brand health and beauty care products from its shelves and has replaced them with private label items.
In San Francisco, a Walgreens store has locked up frozen foods, and in Chicago, another Walgreens location was designed specifically to keep shoplifters at bay. The store keeps most of its product behind the counter and customers use kiosks to place orders and checkout.
The Dollar Tree also has said it will unveil new store formats to counter shrink during the second half of 2023, including moving certain products behind the counter.
Target has made the decision to close nine stores across four states because the theft rate continues to get worse. Many stores have taken steps to fight theft, like locking up frozen foods or keeping items behind the counter, but do you think closing a store is too drastic of a measure?
Let us know in the comments below, or email your thoughts to the SN staff at [email protected]. Be sure to include your full name and work title. And have a great day.