KEY POINTS

  • The retailer made the decision, citing threat to customers and workers
  • Pokemon and sports trading cards would still be available on Target's online store
  • Trading cards have seen an increase in sales and value during the pandemic

Target is temporarily suspending its in-store sales of popular trading cards -- of both the sports and Pokémon variety -- following a recent parking lot brawl in one of its stores.

Last week, a 35-year-old man was physically assaulted by four men between the ages of 23 to 35 over sports trading cards as he left a Target store in Wisconsin. During the May 7 incident, the victim, a valid concealed carry permit holder, was able to grab his gun, at which point his attackers ran. Police said no shots were fired.   

The assault incident prompted the American retailer to pull out popular trading cards from in-store sales, citing threat to customers and workers as the reason. 

"The safety of our guests and our team is our top priority," a Target spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. "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."

The trading cards would still be available for purchase on the retailer’s online store. 

Trading cards have seen a surge in popularity and value during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pokemon trading cards have seen the most sales in recent months, with the printing press struggling to keep up with the demand. 

 “We’re aware that some fans are experiencing difficulties purchasing certain Pokémon Trading Card Game products due to very high demand and global shipping constraints impacting availability,” the printing press said in a statement.

“In situations where there is limited availability, we are actively working to print more of the impacted Pokémon TCG products as quickly as possible and at maximum capacity to support this increased demand.”

In December 2020, a rare Charizard Pokemon card was sold for $360,000 through Goldin Auctions. An unopened box of first edition Pokemon cards, which turns 25 this year, hit a record high when it was sold for $408,000 through Heritage Auctions on January 15. 

Prior to Target’s latest announcement, the retailer limited card sales to three packs per person per day, then one pack per day. However, some shoppers camped out outside Target stores after the policy was introduced.

New Pokemon Snap is a first-person on-rails experience with an emphasis on photography and nature New Pokemon Snap is a first-person on-rails experience with an emphasis on photography and nature Photo: Nintendo