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Target to close 3 Bay Area stores because of retail theft; 6 other stores closing in New York, Portland, Seattle

Bay Area residents talk about impact of Target closing 3 locations
Bay Area residents talk about impact of Target closing 3 locations 02:50

The prevalence of organized retail theft is forcing Target Corporation to close nine stores in four states, including three in the Bay Area, the company announced Tuesday.

In a press statement, Target said it takes the decision to close stores very seriously and only after investing in steps to prevent and stop theft that were ultimately unsuccessful.

"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," the statement said. "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."

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao in a statement said, "I understand the challenges that Target is facing in cities across the country and I am disappointed by the news of its closure in Oakland. My goal is to continue working in partnership with members of the business community to help ensure their safety and success in our city."

The Minneapolis-based retail giant said the Bay Area stores to be closed are the San Francisco store at Folsom and 13th Streets, the Oakland store at Broadway and 27th Street, and the Pittsburg store at the Century Plaza Shopping Center.

Residents who live near the one in Oakland said the location is convenient for them.

"It kind of sucks. I come here all the time," said Amy Dobis, who lives nearby. "A lot of the stuff here is the kind of stuff I would get at Ikea. I have to go to Emeryville and that's far."

Antioch resident Angelique Scott goes to the Pittsburg Target and said she's noticed more items being locked up. But this is the place she looks to for her shopping.

"This is my go-to store. I do all of my orders online when I don't feel like coming in, and they'll usually deliver it right to my home," she said. 

Scott said she is unsure where she will do her shopping now.

The company said two Target stores in Seattle will also be shuttered, along with three stores in Portland and one in New York City's Harlem neighborhood.

Target said it has added additional security staff, third-party guard services, and theft deterrent tools across its stores but the tactics were not enough to stop rampant and increasingly brazen shoplifting incidents.

"Despite our efforts, unfortunately, we continue to face fundamental challenges to operating these stores safely and successfully," the statement said.

The stores in question will close effective Oct. 21. Employees at the stores targeted for closure will be offered the opportunity to transfer to other Target locations, the company said. 

Target added that its customers in the markets where the closures are taking place will continue to be served by more than 150 other locations in those same markets.

Earlier this year, Target said it expected theft-related losses at its stores could top $1.2 billion this fiscal year. CEO Brian Cornell told analysts last month that violent incidents against Target workers jumped 120% for the first five months of the year compared to the same period last year. 

In May, Target removed products marketed toward the LGBTQ+ community for Pride Month because of a conservative backlash and a number of confrontations with store employees. Target's reaction to right-wing activism prompted a second backlash from those in the LGBTQ+ community and civil rights groups.

In 2021, Target cut back operating hours at its stores in San Francisco because of the sharp increase in shoplifting at different locations in the city.

Industry analysts say the top metro areas for retail crime are Los Angeles, San Francisco/Oakland, Houston, New York and Seattle.

San Francisco has seen a number of major retailers close stores recently in the downtown area - such as Walgreens, Old Navy, Nordstrom, and Whole Foods - with the closures attributed to ongoing retail theft combined with the lingering effects of the pandemic and changing shopping habits. 

Jocelyn Moran contributed to this report.

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