Trading card notice at a Target store in Edgewater, NJ.
Sarah Whitten | CNBC
Retail giant Target said Friday it is temporarily taking trading cards off shelves after one of its Wisconsin stores was locked down due to a violent dispute over cards.
The items being removed include MLB, NFL, NBA and Pokemon trading cards. Shoppers can still purchase the cards online on Target’s website.
Retailers have been seeing a surge in demand for trading cards during the pandemic, with the resale value of these cards being multiples of what consumers originally paid.
The dispute in Brookfield, Wisconsin, involved four men who allegedly assaulted a fifth in the parking lot as he left the store earlier this month. The victim, who has a concealed carry permit, drew his gun during the incident, prompting his attackers to run off. No shots were fired, and all four were arrested, according to a report by WISN.
Target’s decision is a precautionary measure, the company said.
“The safety of our guests and our team is our top priority. Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve decided to temporarily suspend the sale of MLB, NFL, NBA and Pokemon trading cards within our stores, effective May 14,” a spokesperson for Target said in a statement.
The Pokémon Company International, which manages the brand and merchandise, said in a statement that demand and shipping constraints are affecting the availability of Pokémon card products.
“We trust our retail partners to make the best decisions for their stores and employees. We are working closely with them to ensure customers and fans will be able to have access to an increased supply in the near future,” The Pokémon Company said.
Other brands of trading cards such as Hasbro’s “Magic: The Gathering” are still on shelves.
Despite seeing a rise in demand, rival Walmart said it did not plan on taking similar steps at this time.
“We have not suspended the sale of any trading cards. Like other retailers, we have seen increased customer demand, and we are determining what, if any, changes are needed to meet customer demand while ensuring a safe and enjoyable shopping experience,” a spokeswoman for Walmart said in a statement.