While shopping at Target in Chatham Tuesday, Karen Johnson overheard chatter that the store was closing next year. The news, she said, was “devastating.”
“This is my neighborhood store. I’ve been coming here for as long as I can remember,” said Johnson, 57. “This just doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Target officials confirmed Tuesday that the Minneapolis company will close two of its South Side stores by Feb. 2.
In addition to the Chatham store at 8560 S. Cottage Grove Ave., the company will close its store at 11840 S. Marshfield Ave. in Morgan Park. Each employs about 120 full and part-time workers. Some employees in “good standing” will be eligible to transfer to another store, officials said.
Chatham’s 126,000-square-foot store opened in 2002 and Morgan Park’s 128,000-square-foot store came to the neighborhood in 2008. They are two of five Targets on the South Side; the two closing are the southernmost stores within city boundaries.
“I have a car so I can easily drive to another store, but what about the other people in this community that don’t have a car and rely on this Target for everything?” Johnson said.
Valerie Robinson is one of those shoppers: she relies on public transit to get to the Chatham store.
“This means I have to travel further on the bus and walk more to go shopping for my everyday needs,” said Robinson, 54.
Target spokeswoman Jacqueline DeBuse said the stores have to be closed to “maintain the overall health of the business.”
“Typically a store is closed as a result of several years of decreasing profitability,” she said. “For the two stores in Chicago, the decision is based on the store’s performance.”
There are 84 Targets in the “greater Chicago area,” DeBuse said.
DeBuse said Target remains committed to Chicago regardless of the closures. She said Target continues to make investments in city stores by upgrading and remodeling stores and opening new ones.
Of the 19 stores in the city, 10 are on the North Side and another four are downtown or near downtown, including one in the South Loop, according to the company’s website.
With the two stores shuttering, the only South Side stores will be in Hyde Park, McKinley Park and Archer Heights.
“It is not about a neighborhood or geography,” DeBuse said. “We’re looking at the performance and profitability of a store over the last several years.” DeBuse said she could not share store-specific information on how the two locations fared compared to similar-sized stores in Chicago.
Robinson, though, saw the closures as another example of the South Side getting short shrift.
“It seems to always be us out here in the South Side that has to travel greater distances for our needs,” she said. “It’s not even surprising anymore, just devastating.”