WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Target announced plans to shutter four US stores, including two in the Washington, D.C. metro area. This move coincided with several other big-box retailers shuttering certain locations.
The Falls Church, Va. store at 500 South Washington St. and the 7501 Baltimore Ave. location in College Park, Md. will close May 13, according to a spokesperson on for the retail giant Wednesday.
“The decision to close any of our stores isn’t something we take lightly. It’s an action we take only after multiple years of working to improve performance,” said the spokesperson, adding, “we value the team members at these stores, and they will be offered the opportunity to work at nearby Target locations.”
Target said they also plan to close locations in Minneapolis, Mn. and Philadelphia, Pa. in May.
Shoppers and staff shared mixed feelings following the news, and as several consumer analysts signal more big-box brick-and-mortar stores will call it quits.
“It’s upsetting,” one employee at the Falls Church store told DC News Now on the condition of anonymity, because of their eligibility for another position at a nearby Target location after the store closes.
“There’s some things about brick and mortar stores that you just can’t replace,” Will Poole said before entering the store.
Riad Ajami caught up with DC News Now outside of the same Target. He happens to be a professor of global business at Ohio’s Wright State University and offered his professional analysis of in-person retail closures.
“I think they should not be closing because ultimately they want to make sure that customers are served,” Ajami said.
“I believe we still need to have people who are going to be working and contributing a part of the community,” he added.
Business Insider reported a list of over 800 big-box store locations to close in 2023.
Describing the increasing interest among consumers to shop online as an alternative to in-person, Professor Ron Hill at American University’s Kogod School of Business said, “we knew that during the pandemic there was a real shift.”
“When Covid-19 hit, people were afraid to go back into stores, and so many of them had already changed their behaviors,” Hill said, adding, “when it all shakes out, what’s going to happen are we going to have any brick and mortar stores at all, or are we going to be mostly online? … That’s a question still for the ages.”
The two DMV Target stores to close in May happen to be anchors to ‘mixed-use’ buildings — a municipal zoning designation permitting developers to build commercial, retail and residential space.
DC News Now asked Hill if more stores acting as anchors to mixed-use developments may continue to close as more developers copy the building model.
“That’s a problem because you can’t put one on every corner, unlike Starbucks or, I guess, gas stations,” Hill said. “We’re just not able to keep them all in business at one time.”