Target to suspend in-store sale of sports, Pokemon cards over safety concerns

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(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

(KTVX) – Amid a renewed popularity – and scarcity – of Pokemon and sports trading cards, Target announced it will pull the products from its shelves nationwide in the wake of a recent near-tragedy at a location in Wisconsin.

Replying to an inquiry from Nexstar’s KTVX, Target gave the following comment:

“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 Pokémon trading cards within our stores, effective May 14. Guests can continue to shop these cards online at Target.com.”

Walmart did not reply to a similar request for comment before the time of publishing.

Last Friday, outside of a Target in Brookfield, Wisconsin, a group of four men assaulted a 35-year-old man as he left the store with several boxes of sports trading cards. During the assault, the victim, a valid concealed carry permit holder, raised his weapon and scared off his attackers, according to WISN. As a result, the store and a couple of other surrounding businesses went into lockdown. The attackers were later found and taken into custody.

Sports trading cards, Pokemon cards, and other collectibles have seen a resurgence in popularity, especially during the pandemic. Lines in front of Target stores on Friday mornings, when the cards are put on shelves, have become more and more commonplace across the country.

Pokemon collector Jason Jung, of Salt Lake City, told KTVX April 6 that those who wait for hours in front of stores like Target for the cards can attempt to hoard and buy armfuls at a time.

“The people at the front, they’re just grabbing like 10-12 boxes, likes as much as they could,” recalled Jung, guessing that those people were looking to flip the boxes for a profit.

Demand for the cards is sending their value rocketing higher.

“With how the market is now, you’ve seen a lot of cards going in the million-dollar ranges which I think also brings more people in trying to find the golden ticket,” said Tanner Powell, of Murray, Utah’s Overtime Cards, said in April.

With Target’s decision, other smaller card shops are hoping this will help them have more products in stock for their clientele.

“It’s been a bit of a nightmare for us to get cards from our distributors. They’ve been prioritizing the big box stores over us so if one of those stores isn’t going to be carrying it anymore, I think it might help us have a decent stock,” says Dion Dealva, who works at Game Haven in West Jordan.

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