PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Target is shuttering three Portland stores out of concerns for employee and customer safety amid theft and organized crime, the retailer announced in a Tuesday press release.
The decision to shut down Portland stores is part of a wider call to close nine stores in four states effective Oct. 21.
“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. 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 a press release.
The Portland locations shutting down include Portland Galleria on Morrison Street, Powell Boulevard and the Hollywood District location on Halsey Street.
Some downtown residents and shoppers say they would’ve liked to see more done by corporate.
“If they were so worried about food theft, they’d have cashiers scanning each and every item. I feel like if Target was like, ‘Oh my God, people are stealing everything,’ they would have cashiers lined up, security lined up. There’s like two security guards, no cashiers, no security around the items,” one shopper told KOIN 6 News.
The shopper also said the stores could impact those in need of cost-effective food items in the area.
“Target was one of the last places where you could go if you wanted to get low-cost foods in this area, and now it’s going to go away so I want you guys to consider what that’s going to do to low-income people in the area,” she said.
Tom Gillpatrick, who founded the Center for Retail Leadership at Portland State University, says there’s a widespread impact in the community when big retail stores leave.
“These holes are tough. I think we’ve certainly seen that in downtown Portland. The vitality of a community is affected. I think retail is sometimes underappreciated for the energy and vitality it can bring to a community,” Gillpatrick said. “If there are a number of retailers closing, then it tends to have a compounding impact and investment. Investors and retailers who are looking for a place would be cautioned to invest in an area where companies are pulling out.”
In a statement to KOIN 6, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler called the move disheartening, adding, “As we continue making strides to re-staff the Portland Police Bureau and partner on targeted retail theft missions, we are also implementing increased safety measures like enhanced lighting and foot patrols to create safer public spaces for everyone.”
Target announced it will also close stores in the Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland and New York City markets.
“The team members at these stores have worked hard to maintain our high standards by creating a positive working and shopping experience for each other, our guests and their communities. We are extremely thankful for their efforts and will be partnering closely with all eligible team members to offer them an opportunity to transfer to other Target locations,” Target added.
The closures come after Walmart closed its last two Portland locations in March. The company said it was shuttering those stores for financial reasons as Walmart’s CEO announced record-breaking retail theft nationwide has been impacting the company’s bottom line.