Home Business Business community speaks out after Target blames crime for store closures

Business community speaks out after Target blames crime for store closures

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Business leaders are expressing alarm after Target became the latest retailer to blame crime for pulling the plug on stores.

“The US Chamber is deeply concerned with increasing reports of stores closing in communities across the country due to large-scale theft and looting,” Tom Wickman, senior vice president of state and local policy at the US Chamber of Commerce, told CNN in a statement on Wednesday. “No store should have to close because of theft.”

Target sent shockwaves through the industry on Tuesday by saying it will close nine stores across four states due to large-scale theft. It is not clear whether the stores were under-performing or reaching their revenue goals. Target did not comment on this or provide data on theft at the stores. Target previously said it was expecting to lose $500 million this year due to rising theft.

Apple, Lululemon and other stores were looted overnight in Philadelphia, prompting dozens of arrests.

Crime statistics are not growing significantly more serious. But as economic fears grow amid inflation and rising borrowing costs, shoplifting often comes with the territory, industry watchers say.

“We are hearing from members large and small about the problems they continue to face from crime and, in some areas, a lack of prosecution of criminals,” Wickman said.

The Chamber of Commerce said it is pushing for new legislation to close loopholes that let people sell stolen products and it is “calling on prosecutors to do their jobs and hold criminals accountable.”

“We call on policymakers to tackle this problem head-on before it gets further out of control,” Wickman said.

In addition to stores in Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland and Portland, Target is shutting down its East Harlem location in New York City.

The Partnership for New York City, a powerful business alliance that includes major employers, is giving NYC officials some credit for fighting crime.

“New York City has done a better job than most places in curbing retail theft, but it is still rampant,” Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, told CNN on Wednesday.

Wylde said retail theft puts workers at risk and costs stores when it comes to security and lost inventory.

“The Police Department and District Attorneys in New York are focused on this problem and that is why we have seen progress, but more is required to shut down what have become sophisticated criminal operations,” Wylde said.

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