will stop selling NBA, NFL, MLB and Pokémon cards in its stores after increased interest in the hobby has led to at least one fight outside one of its retail locations.
“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,” Target told MarketWatch on Thursday.
Values of many collectibles including both sports and Pokémon cards have spiked since the pandemic began with rare cards routinely selling for millions on auction platforms like eBay
and PWCC. EBay says it has seen “explosive growth” in the trading cards market.
See also: eBay has started allowing NFT sales
Due to this high demand, many Target stores removed all cards from their shelves and only sold them at its customer service area, according to the retailer. Shortly thereafter, the company put up signs saying that cards would only be sold Fridays at 8 a.m., causing people to wait outside in line for hours before the stores open.
One employee at a Target in upstate New York told MarketWatch that one morning in April people camped outside the store as early as 6:30 a.m. even though there were strong winds and it was raining.
The long lines outside of stores have led to Target restricting how people can buy the cards, and in Wisconsin last week four people were arrested for fighting over a disagreement related to sports trading cards.
Target informed MarketWatch that all trading cards will be sold online from now on.
The new influx in interest surrounding the collectible cards industry has led people to send their cards into grading companies in an effort increase the value of their cards — the nation’s biggest card grading company, PSA, had to temporarily suspend new submissions because it was overstocked with cards.