Target To Close 9 Stores

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Target announced a major restructuring on Tuesday, revealing plans to close nine stores across four U.S. states, citing a dangerous uptick in violence, theft, and organized retail crime as the primary motivator for the move.

The announcement, which will take effect on October 21st, will affect three stores in the San Francisco-Oakland area, three in Portland, two in Seattle, and one in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City.

Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a news 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.”

Investments in ramped-up internal security team members and third-party guard services failed to stop the jarring increase in retail theft due to smash-and-grab robberies involving large groups of criminals, according to Cornell.

Soon-to-be former Target employees are not the only ones possibly affected by the closure of the nine stores. Critics cite “progressive prosecutors” for the rise in flash mob robberies, which they estimate is costing retailers $720,000 for every $1 billion in sales—a 50% increase since 2015—according to a report from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D).

A report from CNBC found that nine states have passed laws imposing strict penalties for looting.

Though Target did not release any accounting for the business caused by their Pride Month collection controversy, the announcement of the store closures comes after the retailer reported a 5.4% decline in their sales for the first time in six years.

Meanwhile, in places like Philadelphia…