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The New York Times reports that Target plans to close nine urban stores in five states, "saying theft at the locations was harming its business and threatening the safety of employees and customers."

The stores include one in New York City and multiple units in San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Oregon.  They all will close on October 21.

“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 retailer said in a statement.

The Times writes that "in recent months, Target has been vocal on the topic of theft within its stores, particularly about organized retail crime, in which a large amount of merchandise is stolen with the aim of its being sold on the black market."

The National Retail Federation (NRF) yesterday said that "as incidents of retail crime continue to escalate throughout the country, retailers have seen a dramatic jump in financial losses associated with theft. When taken as a percentage of total retail sales in 2022, shrink accounted for $112.1 billion in losses, up from $93.9 billion in 2021 … According to the survey, the average shrink rate in FY 2022 increased to 1.6%, up from 1.4% the previous year."

In its statement, Target pointed out that it will have additional stores serving the markets where it is closing units.  In Portland, for example, the company noted that it "will continue its commitment to our Portland team members, guests, and community. In 2022 in the Portland area, Target gave over $2.3 million in cash and product donations, including over 1 million pounds of food to local food banks and our team members volunteered over 5,800 hours in the community."

KC's View:

The Portland location is particularly interesting to me, since it is a city I know pretty well.  If I'm not mistaken, that store only has been open for about a decade, and it was a matter of local pride when it opened its doors (hiring a bunch of folks who were students at Portland State University).

But it also is across the street from a brand new Ritz Carlton Hotel, which would appear to be opening in the wrong neighborhood at the wrong time.

The crime issues being faced by Target and other retailers can only be solved if city managers and businesses stand together - supported by local communities - and draw the line on theft.  You steal, you get arrested, you go on trial and if found guilty, you go to jail.  End of story.