Citing Theft and Safety Issues, Target Closes 9 Stores in 4 States

Target store

Target will close nine stores in four cities on Oct. 21, 2023, saying theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of its customers and associates and “contributing to unsustainable business performance,” according to a company statement. Target noted that it has made multiple efforts to secure these location, including adding more security team members, using third-party guard services and implementing theft-deterrent tools across its business.

Target will be closing:

  • One store in NYC’s Harlem, leaving 96 locations throughout the city;
  • Two in Seattle, leaving 22 stores;
  • Three in San Francisco/Oakland, leaving 32 stores in the metro area; and
  • Three in Portland, Ore., leaving 15 stores in this market.

Target and other retailers, including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Lowe’s, have been blaming theft and other forms of shrink as one reason for lackluster financial performance this year.

NRF Data: Shrink is on the Rise

The National Retail Federation’s just-released National Retail Security Survey 2023 revealed that the overall shrink rate in 2022 rose to 1.6%, up from 1.4% in 2021 and in line with shrink rates seen in 2020 and 2019. When calculated as a percentage of total retail sales, shrink represented $112.1 billion in losses, up from $93.9 billion in 2021. Theft, both internal and external, accounts for 65% of shrink, although it can reach as high as 70% in certain verticals.


The report also noted that “retailers are highly concerned about the heightened levels of violence and threat of violence associated with theft and crime,” with 88% of retailer respondents reporting that shoplifters overall are “somewhat” or “much more” aggressive and violent compared to a year ago.

Retailers that were asked if they took any specific actions due to crime, disorder or violence reported that:

  • 45.3% reduced specific stores’ operating hours;
  • 29.7% reduced or altered in-store product selection; and
  • 28.1% closed specific store locations.

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