Target Agrees to Meeting Over Closing South Side Stores

Several efforts were underway Thursday to try to discourage Target from closing two stores on Chicago's South Side.

City officials were scrambling to try to convince the retail giant to change its mind about closing the stores, one in Morgan Park and one in Chatham, saying both are critical to the predominantly African-American communities, and residents were upset with the decision. 

"We need this store," one resident said. "The employees in there, they need a job. They have families, they have homes. They need to eat." 

The Minneapolis-based retailer announced plans to shutter the stores last week, calling it a "difficult decision," but one that had to be made based on performance.

"The decision to close a store is always difficult," a store spokeswoman said in a statement, "and follows a rigorous annual process to evaluate the performance of every store in the portfolio and maintain the overall health of the business."

The company said it also considers the proximity of other Target stores before deciding to close a location.

"Target remains committed to Chicago and will continue to serve guests at nearby stores,” the spokeswoman said.

But Rep. Bobby Rush said he is hoping Target will reconsider, sending the company a letter last week and on Thursday night hosting a community meeting to hear from residents.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed an executive order Wednesday to keep developers from seeking TIF money for retail projects and getting incentives if a tenant plans to close their stores.

"If you are going to be a Chicago store, you are going to be in all parts of Chicago," he said. 

He has also spoken with Target's CEO since the company made the announcement and though it may be a long shot, he said he's hoping the retailer might change its mind.

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