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Target Closing Nine Stores Across 4 States, Citing Theft and Violence

(AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

Retail giant Target announced Tuesday it will close nine stores in several large cities across four states due to violence, theft, and organized retail crime.

The discount chain will close one store in New York City's Harlem neighborhood, two store locations in Seattle, three stores in the San Francisco-Oakland area, and three more stores in Portland, Oregon effective Oct. 21, according to a company press release. 

"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," Target said in a press release. "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 also said it had tried to prevent thefts by adding security guards and other deterrents in these stores, but none of them worked. 

"Despite our efforts, unfortunately, we continue to face fundamental challenges to operating these stores safely and successfully," the retailer said.

slider img 2The company said more than 150 locations will remain open in the cities where the other stores are being closed. 

Target has almost 2,000 stores in the U.S. 

With its announcement, Target also stands apart in its decision to both shutter stores and to explicitly blame that decision on retail crime, according to CNBC

Target CEO Brian Cornell told financial analysts during an earnings call in August that the rise in retail crime was one reason for the drop-off in his company's sales. The retailer's second-quarter sales slumped for the first time since 2017. 

"Safety incidents associated with {theft} are moving in the wrong direction," Cornell said. "During the first five months of this year, our stores saw a 120% increase in theft incidents involving violence or threats of violence."

But the company's executives also acknowledged Target's blatant LGBT Pride merchandising played a role, resulting in dismal sales for the quarter, The Daily Signal reported. 

Christina Hennington, Target's chief growth officer, admitted that "the strong reaction to this year's Pride assortment" affected sales.

Other Retailers Leaving Crime-Infested Cities 

As CBN News has reported, other retailers are fleeing some of the same cities Target is leaving as the rising crime has continued to hurt their businesses. 

Last month, Nordstrom closed its flagship store in San Francisco as crime, homelessness, and public drug use have plagued the city's downtown. 

"It's definitely partially due to the crime in the area. COVID-19 had a big impact," a Nordstrom employee told KGO-TV.

"A lot of people and businesses have closed because they have more thieves than customers," one downtown bodega shop owner named Mohamad told CBN News last July. 

Rising crime rates have been a problem in other cities too where gangs of thieves sometimes target stores in broad daylight with impunity. In early August, several people ransacked a Nordstrom store in the Topanga Mall near Los Angeles.

In Portland, Oregon, 79% of the businesses surveyed reported being victims of vandalism or break-ins, and 19% have been vandalized at least 5 times. 

"Our business has been vandalized over a half a dozen times. We've had five burglaries in our business. We've had over $100,000 worth of impact," business owner Jim Rice told CBN News during an interview in April. 

Walmart and Cracker Barrel are part of a wave of businesses fleeing the Portland area.  More than 2,600 downtown businesses have also left. 

Tech company owner Gabe Johnson is also looking to relocate.  

"By us continuing to keep our business within Multnomah County and the Portland city limits, we are giving money to the problem, and so we're going to move," he said.

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