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'A major economic blow'

Nike officials sent a letter to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler in February, confirming they’d closed the factory store the previous October because of “deteriorating public safety conditions and rapid escalation in retail theft,” according to KGW-TV.

The retailer allegedly requested off-duty police officers to provide security — which Nike would pay for — but the city could not spare any law enforcement officers.

The Soul District Business Association (SDBA) released a statement, according to multiple news outlets, calling Nike’s departure “a major economic blow.” SDBA director John Washington said the news “landed like a lead balloon” and that “we had all been holding our breath since … the store quietly shuttered its doors due to internal and external theft and safety issues.

“But, like so many of us riding out the fallout of the pandemic and protests, we held out hope that Nike, city officials and community leaders would recalibrate and realign order. But it looks like it's game over."

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Retail challenges

Nike would by no means be alone in experiencing an alarming uptick in retail crime — and rising concern over the issue is happening all over the country.

According to a report from the NRF, a majority of retailers surveyed between 2020 and 2022 reported annual increases in organized retail crime activity at their stores.

Many cities have seen retail store closures in recent months — with rampant crime being just one of the major factors in this.

In addition to theft concerns, retailers across the U.S. are also struggling to regain the same levels of footfall that they enjoyed pre-pandemic.

Correction, Dec. 12, 2023: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the NRF estimated “theft” was costing the retail industry $100 billion. In fact, it estimated that “shrink” was costing the industry $100 billion. Shrink refers to loss of inventory and can include, but is not limited to, theft.

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About the Author

Bethan Moorcraft

Bethan Moorcraft


Bethan Moorcraft is a reporter for Moneywise with experience in news editing and business reporting across international markets.

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