Target to limit self-checkout to 10 items amid retail theft issues

Target will limit shoppers to 10 items at self-checkout counters amid the ongoing scourge of retail theft facing big-box stores.

The pilot program was rolled out in select locations weeks after the discount chain closed nine stores in several cities, including its first location in Manhattan.

“In select stores we are testing self-checkout lines of 10 items or less to reduce wait times and better understand guest preferences,” the Minnesota-based retailer. he told Business Insider.

The company did not say how many stores would implement the pilot program.

The Post has sought comment from Target.

The company did not say whether the pilot program was launched because of the ongoing retail theft problem, which has threatened the safety of its workers and customers.

A Target location in East Harlem that closed in late September was frequently targeted by thieves.

Target has launched a pilot program that limits customers to 10 items if they pay at the self-checkout counter.
UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The company has said it expects shoplifting to be a “significant financial obstacle.”

“We think progress there is probably not going to happen quickly,” Chief Financial Officer Michael Fiddelke said on an earnings conference call with Wall Street analysts last week.

Top management admitted that Target’s theft problem, known as “shrink,” continues to plague its 1,956 stores nationwide with no end in sight.

“We are focused on progress over time,” Fiddelke added. “It’s not something we would expect overnight.”

“Shrinkage growth remains a significant financial hurdle and we are determined to continue making progress in the coming years,” Fiddelke added.

Target did not say how many stores would implement the pilot program.
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

On the positive side, the company said the contraction in the most recent quarter was “less than expected” and “better than what we faced at the beginning of the year.”

Target reported a sizable third-quarter profit increase that handily beat Wall Street expectations as the retailer kept costs down and reduced inventory.

However, revenue fell more than 4% as customers, saddled with vastly higher costs, cut back on spending as the holiday season approaches.

Target reported a 36% increase in third-quarter earnings to $971 million, or $2.10 per share, easily beating Wall Street expectations for earnings per share of $1.47, according to FactSet.

Target recently closed several stores in big cities due to rampant shoplifting.
AFP via Getty Images

Revenue fell 4.2% to $25.4 billion, but that was also better than the $25.29 billion industry analysts were expecting.

Its third-quarter comparable sales (those of stores or digital channels that operated during the last 12 months) fell 4.9% in the most recent quarter.

Those sales fell 5.4% in the second quarter.

For the fourth quarter, Target expects comparable sales in a wide range of around a mid-single-digit decline and earnings per share of $1.90 to $2.60 per share.

Analysts expect $2.23 per share.

Additional reporting by Lisa Fickenscher

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