Walmart and Target stores have removed Pokemon TCG and sports card products from their shelves, apparently in unison.  We visited stores from both chains on Thursday, May 13, and found displays empty of those products, although Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG products were still available.

Target had signs at the front of the store and on the empty display area explaining the move.  "To ensure the safety of our guests and team members, effective May 14, MLB, NFL, NBA and Pokemon Trading Cards (sic) will no longer be sold in stores until further notice," the signs said.

Walmart did not display signage at the store we visited, but in some stores had posted signs alerting merchandisers not to stock any sports card or Pokemon TCG products, explaining that sales were suspended "due to inappropriate customer behavior and increased demand."

An incident in Wisconsin last Friday may have helped convince the chains to make the move.  A 35-year old man was being assaulted by four men ages 23 to 35 in a Target parking lot in Brookfield, Wisconsin in a dispute over trading cards when he pulled a gun, for which he had a concealed carry permit, and scared them off, according to a report by local ABC affiliate WISN.  The men were located by police in the surrounding area and taken into custody.

The frenzy surrounding Pokemon and sports cards has been increasing on the crazy scale since February, when we reported that chain store pickers had placed a tracking tile on a merchandiser’s vehicle to enable them to arrive at the store as shelves were being restocked (see "Chain Store Pickers Used Tracking Tile on Merchandiser’s Vehicle").

Now the big question is, "where will the inventory go?"  Will the product in stores and in the pipeline go to the dot-coms associated with the chains, to other chains, or to hobby game stores?  Stay tuned.

Click Gallery below for display photos!