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Black Friday protests planned over Target’s plans to close South Side stores

CHICAGO — Protesters gathered outside a South Loop Target store Monday after the retailer announced plans to close two South Side locations last month, sparking an outcry from residents and leaders who say the stores are vital for local communities.

Congressman Bobby Rush (D- IL 1st District) led the small rally outside the Target on Roosevelt and Canal Monday to denounce the planned closures. Rep. Rush is hoping some old-fashioned pressure on the pocketbook will change the company's mind, and is pledging an even larger Black Friday protest outside the South Loop store in response.

"We know that poor management, empty shelves, long lines at the registers... it's not the community's fault," Rep. Bobby Rush said.

The two Target stores slated for closure are at 87th and Cottage Grove and 119th and Marshfield, both on the South Side. Target's announcement it would close the stores surprised elected officials and people who shop there.

"This is one of the busiest Targets in the city, and it's also busy in terms on senior citizens needing drug refills," South Shore resident Robert Starks said.

In a statement, Target says it bases its decisions on the performance and profitability of a store over several years, and the decision to the close the Chatham and Morgan Park stores was based on performance and not on the neighborhoods or geography.

Chatham Alderman Roderick Sawyer says he's been told there's no possibility either store will stay open. Instead, he hopes a meeting with Target planned for Thursday will focus on the future.

"I'm not going to beg anyone to stay in my neighborhood that doesn't want to," Ald. Sawyer (6th Ward) said.

Sawyer said each store is more than 126,000 square feet, and will require two or three replacement tenants to fill the footprint of each one. Insofar as proposed protests are concerned, Sawyer said there's talk of pushing for a Black Friday protests of Target citywide.