Theft, poor safety drive Target to shut down stores in SF, NY, Portland, Seattle

(The Center Square) — Due to losses from theft and concerns about employee and customer safety, Target is shutting down nine stores across four states, including three in the Bay Area market alone. Additional closures include one store in Harlem, New York, another in Seattle, Washington and three more in Portland, Oregon.

“In this case, 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,” wrote Target in a public statement. “Before making this decision, we invested heavily in strategies to prevent and stop theft and organized retail crime in our stores, such as adding more security team members, using third-party guard services, and implementing theft-deterrent tools across our business. Despite our efforts, unfortunately, we continue to face fundamental challenges to operating these stores safely and successfully.”

According to the San Francisco government, there were 39,084 reported larcenies in 2020, 47,391 in 2021, and 61,715 in 2022. Amid the increase in crime, retail businesses have fled the city in droves, including the recent departure of Nordstrom’s flagship store in the area on August 28.

In a statement, Jamie Nordstrom, the company’s chief stores officer, said, “the dynamics of the downtown San Francisco market have changed dramatically over the past several years, impacting customer foot traffic to our stores and our ability to operate successfully.”

San Francisco is estimated to have lost 65,000 residents between 2020 and 2022, or 7.5% of its population. In a recent study of the number of cellphone signals as an indicator of business activity, San Francisco ranked last among 62 cities in North America for post-pandemic downtown recoveries. This decrease in population and business activity, combined with the city’s increase in

The decrease in population and business activity paired with an increase in crime has led some to comment that San Francisco is in a “doom loop” that could the city a shadow of its former self. Recently, San Francisco Mayor London Breed has adopted stronger policies to address crime, homelessness, and drug abuse. Most recently, Breed introduced a new measure that would require all recipients of county-funded cash welfare payments to be screened for substance abuse and be enrolled in and successfully engaging in substance abuse treatment programs to receive payments.

— Kenneth Schrupp, The Center Square

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