“During the first five months of this year, our stores saw a 120% increase in theft incidents involving violence or threats of violence,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said Wednesday.
Target says it’s seeing more than twice as many theft incidents involving violence or threats of violence this year.”Safety incidents associated with theft are moving in the wrong direction,” CEO Brian Cornell said.Cornell previously said inventory shrink — which includes theft — could reach $1.2 billion this year.
Shoplifting and organized theft are not only getting more expensive for Target, the company says incidents are getting more dangerous for workers and customers.
“Our team continues to face an unacceptable amount of retail theft and organized retail crime,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said in the company’s second quarter earnings call on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, safety incidents associated with theft are moving in the wrong direction.”
“During the first five months of this year, our stores saw a 120% increase in theft incidents involving violence or threats of violence,” he added.
Theft-related violence was not the only safety concern facing the company in recent months, as backlash over June’s Pride Month celebration led to “threats and aggressive actions” from anti-LGBTQ protestors directed against Target employees.
“We denounce violence and hate of all kinds, and safety of our team and our guests is our top priority,” Cornell said.
Cornell also said this year’s inventory shrink — an accounting metric that includes retail theft and other merchandise losses — is in line with the company’s expectations, although it remains “well-above the sustainable level where we expect to operate over time.”
Back in May, Cornell warned investors that Target’s losses from shrink could grow by $500 million over last year’s level, reaching as high as $1.2 billion.
The National Retail Federation estimates that retail shrink cost retailers a combined $94.5 billion in 2021, up from $90.8 billion in 2020.
Target has not indicated plans to close any of its roughly 2,000 US stores due to theft, but in May Cornell did not rule out the possibility if safety problems become unmanageable.