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Target Will Close 9 Stores Across 4 States Due to Ongoing Crime That's 'Threatening the Safety' of Customers and Employees Target stated that it "invested heavily" in efforts to combat crime, but it just didn't work.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Key Takeaways

  • Target will close nine stores in four states, citing safety concerns.
  • Retail crime is on the rise, with significant financial losses reported industry-wide and increased instances of violence from organized retail crime.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Target has announced that it will close nine stores across four states, citing ongoing crime in the areas as the main reason to shut the doors.

"We cannot continue operating these stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests, and contributing to unsustainable business performance," the company said in the release.

The affected stores are in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland and will cease operations effective October 21.

Before the ultimate decision to close the stores, Target stated that it "invested heavily" in efforts to combat the instances of crime, including increased security personnel, third-party guard services, and theft-deterrent tools, but despite the efforts, the big box retailer was unable to fully squash the problem, and can no longer operate the stores "safely and successfully."

The decision comes a month after Target CEO Brian Cornell said in an earnings call in August that incidents or threats of violence were up 120% for the first five months of 2023 as compared to the year before.

Related: 'Increasingly Serious' Retail Crime Is Hitting Another Beloved U.S. Retailer Hard — and Its CEO Reveals a Bleak Trajectory

In the wake of the store closures, Target's efforts to tackle retail crime presses on. The company says it is continuing to make "significant investments," including increasing security staffing, implementing theft-deterrent tools, and enhancing cyber defense.

Target's decision to close nine stores comes amid rising instances of crime and theft in the retail space. The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported on Tuesday that the average loss due to shrinkage, which includes theft, fraud, damage, and other factors, cost retailers $112.1 billion in 2022, up from $93.9 billion in 2021. Additionally, 67% of survey respondents reported witnessing more violence from organized retail crime in 2022 as compared to a year ago.

Several big-name retailers, such as Dollar Tree, Nike, and Walmart have shuttered stores or ramped up efforts over the past year to address ongoing crime, but instances of violence and theft have continued.

Related: Retail Theft Forces Nike to Permanently Close Beloved Portland Location

This week, in an eight-hour crime rampage spanning Tuesday night through Wednesday morning, numerous retail stores in Philadelphia were looted by a large group of individuals, including many juveniles. Beginning around 8 p.m., stores including Lululemon, the Apple Store, and Footlocker were heavily damaged in what authorities believe was a "coordinated attack."

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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