Target Temporarily Halts Sales of Pokémon Trading Cards Citing 'Threat' to Customer, Worker Safety

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posted on 2021-05-16 07:02 EDT by Crystalyn Hodgkins

Walmart denies it is pulling cards from shelves after 1 store posts signage asking vendors not to stock cards

The New York Times reported on Friday that U.S. retail chain TARGET has temporarily halted sales of Pokémon Trading Card Game cards — along with sports trading cards — "citing a threat to the safety of customers and workers." A TARGET spokesman told the newspaper that the company halted sales "out of an abundance of caution," but did not specify what exactly caused the decision.

After management in one Walmart store allegedly posted a sign telling vendors not to stock the trading card sections with Pokémon cards or sports cards “due to inappropriate customer behavior and increased demand,” the company said that signing was incorrect, and that it is not pulling trading card products from its stores.

Sales of trading cards have risen dramatically during the pandemic. Ebay reported in February that it saw a 142% rise in domestic trading card growth in 2020 compared to 2019, with Pokémon cards leading the category with a 574% increase in sales.

In Brookfield, Wisconsin on May 7, a fight broke out in a TARGET parking lot soon after the store restocked trading cards, and police arrived at the scene after one person allegedly pulled a gun in the fight. The person did not fire the weapon and no one was seriously injured.

A man was also charged in Pennsylvania for allegedly stealing 21 packs of Pokémon cards from a Sheetz store in March.

In Japan, a 28-year-old man was arrested in March after allegedly breaking into a trading card store and stealing Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! trading cards.

The Japanese Pokémon Center Online website announced earlier this month that it was moving to a lottery system for upcoming card packs due to customer demand.

Sources: The New York Times (Daniel Victor), ICv2 (Milton Griepp)

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