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Target says it will close nine stores in four states due to theft and organized retail crime

New York CNN  — 

Target is closing nine stores across four states, claiming theft and organized retail crime are creating an unsustainable business environment.

“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 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.”

The stores will close on October 21. The stores include the East Harlem location in New York City, two locations in Seattle, three locations in Portland, and three locations in San Francisco and Oakland.

The retailer said it had added more security and implemented other anti-theft tools before deciding to close the stores.

Affected employees will be able to transfer to other Target locations.

It is not clear whether the stores were under-performing or reaching their revenue goals. Target did not comment on this.

Target’s announcement comes on the same day that the National Retail Federation released new figures on the state of retail theft.

The NRF, the retail industry’s largest trade group, said Tuesday that average shrink – a term that refers to merchandise that goes missing due to external and internal theft, fraud, damage and other reasons – cost retailers $112.1 billion in losses in 2022, up from $93.9 billion in 2021. The group said the average shrink rate in 2022 increased to 1.6%, up from 1.4% the previous year.

The NRF said retailers are also increasingly concerned about store crimes becoming more dangerous and violent and are opting to close stores in especially vulnerable locations.

These store locations served important roles in their communities – when the East Harlem location opened in 2010, the company lauded how the first store to open on the Manhattan island was accessible to pedestrians and mass transit, and that it would support the local economy.

Target said it has supported the communities the stores are in through donation and initiatives.

This is a developing story and will be updated.