Violence and theft are becoming a growing problem for U.S. retailers. This Tuesday, the Target retailer, one of the largest in the country, announced the closure of nine stores in major US cities, citing safety issues.
“We cannot continue to operate these stores as theft and organized crime in retail threatens the safety of our team and customers and contributes to unsustainable business results. “We know our stores play an important role in their communities, but we can only be successful when the working and shopping environment is safe for everyone,” the company statement said.
Target says it has invested heavily in strategies to prevent and combat “theft and organized crime” in its stores, adding more members to its security team, hiring third-party monitoring services and implementing anti-theft measures across the company. “Unfortunately, despite our efforts, we continue to face fundamental challenges in operating these businesses safely and successfully,” he concludes.
The stores closing are three in Portland, three in the San Francisco and Oakland areas, two in Seattle and one in New York. The company, which operates large-format stores where it sells food, fashion, accessories and home items, has opened numerous stores in these markets. Beyond the safety issues, the company has been hit by inflation and changing consumer habits, which have opted for cheaper brands like Walmart.
The company assures that it will continue to combat theft and organized crime in retail and will make significant investments in maintaining the security of its stores. The measures include hiring more security staff and third-party monitoring services. To a limited extent, the use of aids such as lockable boxes for product groups at risk of theft. In addition, store managers and security team members are trained to protect themselves, reduce potential security issues related to organized retail crime incidents, and increase investment in technology.
In parallel, it will work with authorities and other companies in the sector to promote initiatives to improve safety. This includes promoting the Organized Retail Crime Combating Act in Congress, which establishes a working group of federal agencies to combat theft and organized crime. Target will host store visits for members of Congress, state legislators, city officials, district attorneys, law enforcement and local community partners to share their efforts on this issue and advocate for solutions and collaboration.
Aside from the problems of common and organized crime, Target has been harassed this year by conservative activists protesting the merchandise sold during Pride month. The homophobic campaign also affected sales. Sales fell by 4.9% to 24,384 million dollars (around 22,300 million euros) in the second quarter. The company lowered its forecasts for the rest of the year, but surprised with better-than-expected profits.
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