Violence and robberies are becoming a growing problem for U.S. retail businesses. This Tuesday, the distribution group Target, one of the largest in the country, has announced the closure of nine stores in large cities in the United States citing security problems.
"We cannot continue to operate these stores because theft and organized crime in retail threaten the safety of our team and our customers, and contribute to unsustainable business outcomes. We know our stores play an important role in their communities, but we can only succeed if the work and shopping environment is safe for everyone," the company's statement said.
Target says it has invested heavily in strategies to prevent and stop "theft and organized crime" in its stores, adding more members to the security team, hiring third-party surveillance services and implementing theft deterrent tools throughout its business. "Despite our efforts, unfortunately, we continue to face fundamental challenges to operate these stores safely and successfully," he concludes.
The stores closing are three in Portland, three in the San Francisco and Oakland area, two in Seattle and one in New York. The company, which operates large-format stores where it sells food, fashion, accessories and household items, has numerous stores open in those same markets. Beyond the security problems, the company has been affected by inflation and the change in consumer habits, who have opted for cheaper brands, such as Walmart.
The company assures that it will continue to fight against theft and organized crime in the retail trade with significant investments to maintain the security of its stores. Among its measures is the hiring of more security personnel and third-party surveillance services. Also, in a limited way, implementation of tools such as lockable boxes for the categories of goods most prone to theft. It will also train store managers and security team members to protect themselves and reduce potential security issues associated with organized crime incidents in retail and increase investments in technology.
In parallel, it will collaborate with the authorities and other companies in the sector to promote initiatives that improve security. Among them is promoting in Congress the Law to Combat Organized Crime in Retail Trade, which creates a working group of federal agencies to combat theft and organized crime. Target will host store visits by members of Congress, state legislators, city officials, district attorneys, law enforcement and local community partners to report on their efforts and advocate for solutions and cooperation.
Apart from the problems of common and organized crime, Target has suffered harassment this year from conservative activists in protest of the merchandise it sold in Pride month. The homophobic campaign also took its toll on its sales. Turnover fell by 4.9% in the second quarter, to 24,384 million dollars (about 22,300 million euros). The company lowered its forecasts for the rest of the year, although it surprised with higher than expected profits.
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