Target Closes 175 Stores Nationwide in Wake of George Floyd Protests, Looting
Target said late Saturday night that it would temporarily close 175 of its locations across the U.S. after video of its Minneapolis store getting looted went viral amid the fifth night of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, which saw protesters around the country destroying stores and setting fire to police vehicles.
“We are heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain it is causing communities across the country,” Target wrote in a press statement, adding, “We have made the decision to close a number of our stores ... Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal.” In addition to the Minnesota closures, 49 Target locations in California and 12 in New York are temporarily shuttered, with the rest in Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Georgia, which have all seen protests. The Minneapolis store, located across the street from the protest epicenter, was one of multiple area businesses looted by protesters. Target said employees at the closed stores are being provided with direct communications updates regarding any store impact where they work. Additionally, team members impacted by store closures will be paid for up to 14 days of scheduled hours during store closures, including COVID-19 premium pay. They will also be able to work at other nearby Target locations.
Total Retail's Take: By closing the selected stores, Target is taking what appears to be a necessary step for the safety of its employees and to help its community heal. Brian Cornell, Target's chairman and CEO, posted an empathetic statement about the situation on the retailer's website: "We are a community in pain," Cornell wrote. "That pain is not unique to the Twin Cities — it extends across America. The murder of George Floyd has unleashed the pent-up pain of years, as have the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. We say their names and hold a too-long list of others in our hearts. As a Target team, we’ve huddled, we’ve consoled, we’ve witnessed horrific scenes similar to what’s playing out now and wept that not enough is changing. And as a team we’ve vowed to face pain with purpose.
"Every day, our team wakes up ready to help all families — and on the hardest days we cling even more dearly to that purpose. As I write this, our merchant and distribution teams are preparing truckloads of first aid equipment and medicine, bottled water, baby formula, diapers and other essentials, to help ensure that no one within the areas of heaviest damage and demonstration is cut off from needed supplies."
Cornell stated that Target's store and human resources teams are working with all of its displaced team members, and that it will continue to invest in its communities, preserving jobs and economic opportunity by "rebuilding and bringing back the store that has served as a community resource since 1976. In any of our other locations that are damaged or at risk, the safety and well-being of our team, guests and the surrounding community will continue to be our paramount priority.
"It’s hard to see now, but the day will come for healing — and our team will join our hearts, hands and resources in that journey," Cornell said.