Seattleites react to planned Target closures due to retail theft



(The Center Square) – Target announced the closures of nine stores across four states, including two in Seattle, Wash. due to retail theft, but some Seattleites are unfazed over the stores closing down.

In a Tuesday news release, the retailer stated it can’t continue operating the stores because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of its employees and customers, and contributing to unsustainable business performance.

“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,” Target said in the news release.

The two stores are located in Seattle’s University District and the Ballard District.

Seattle resident Caity Bailey recalled Target being her store of choice growing up in Sacramento, Calif. The two closing Targets are near her, but she expressed disappointment at how small the stores are.

“They don’t carry all the items [including groceries, games, clothes, cleaning supplies and decor] that normal Targets have, so you couldn’t rely on them for your normal shopping trip,” Bailey told The Center Square.

She added that every time she went to either Target location, there were never more than five people shopping in them at a time.

“I really don’t feel like the community needs them that much … that space will be better utilized with either restaurants or a more specialized store that doesn’t need a big space,” Bailey noted.

Seattle ranks in the top 10 for U.S. cities affected by retail crime. According to the National Retail Federation, Seattle was the eighth most impacted city by organized retail crime in the U.S. in 2021.

The city tallied 13,103 calls to the Seattle Police Department from the top 100 retail locations in the city in 2022, with the majority being related to retail theft. According to a recent Seattle Auditor’s Report, responding to those calls cost Seattle police officers 18,615 hours of time, which is equivalent to the annual work performed by nine full-time patrol officers.

The Seattle Police Department indicated that in the first quarter of 2023, it did not receive any theft reports from some large downtown retailers, including Target, because those businesses increased their use of security guards and off-duty officers and chose not to report organized retail theft to the police.

Seattle residents are more concerned about underlying issues related to retail theft, rather than seeing well-known corporations choose to leave.

Ballard Resident Maddy Bowen occasionally shops at the Target in her neighborhood. Bowen said it’s not surprising that the store is closing as she recently noticed more and more products were missing from shelves.

“It’s sad that stores like Target can’t stay open in my neighborhood, but it points to a larger problem of disparity, addiction and suffering in Seattle,” Bowen said.

Bailey is not buying the retailer’s reasoning to close down the two stores due to retail theft.

“That’s just a convenient excuse for them to blame underprivileged people for their mistakes in opening a too-small store that no one wants to go to,” Bailey said.

The two Target locations are set to close on Oct. 21. According to the retailer, 22 stores remain open in the Seattle market, employing nearly 4,000 employees.

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