CareCredit Women's Wellness Index July 2024 Banner

Target to Lower Threshold for Apprehending, Prosecuting Shoplifters


Target will reportedly lower the threshold at which store staff can attempt to stop nonviolent theft.

In a new guideline expected to be implemented this summer, the retailer has dropped that threshold to $50 from the previous $100, Bloomberg reported Friday (June 28), citing unnamed sources.

Asked about the change by Bloomberg, a Target spokesman said the retailer has made changes in stores and has worked with policymakers to address theft.

“Our priority remains ensuring the safety of the team and guests, while maintaining the positive experience Target shoppers expect,” the spokesman said, per the report.

Retailers’ policies for apprehending or prosecuting shoplifters range from $25 to $100 in cases where the theft is nonviolent, and employees are not expected to use physical force, according to the report.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) reported in September 2023 that shrink cost retailers $112.1 billion in 2022, up from up from $93.9 billion the previous year. Internal and external theft accounted for nearly two-thirds of that retail shrink.

“Retailers are seeing unprecedented levels of theft coupled with rampant crime in their stores, and the situation is only becoming more dire,” David Johnston, vice president for asset protection and retail operations at NRF, said when announcing those figures.

Also in September, Target revealed plans to shut down nine of its stores in significant U.S. urban centers because of theft and organized retail crime.

“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,” Target said at the time in a statement. “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.”

Both Target and Walmart have funded a campaign that aims to roll back a California law that critics say has led to a surge in retail theft. The law, Proposition 47, reduced penalties for lower-level drug and property crimes.

In addition, it was reported in April that Target is adding camera-based systems to its self-checkout registers that deter theft by alerting by alerting the shopper if an item is not scanned and helping the company track the shopper if they fail to scan items after being notified.

For all PYMNTS retail coverage, subscribe to the daily Retail Newsletter.