Kohl’s, Foot Locker, Target and Walmart issue warning as brazen shoplifting ‘endangers customers’ safety and profits’
Representatives of several retail giants across the country have complained that organized theft has begun to significantly eat into their profit margins.
Kohl’s, Foot Locker, GoalAnd Walmart is just a few of the nationwide retail chains that have pointed to a rise in organized theft as a leading cause their current financial problems.
For most retailers, large-scale theft falls into the “shrinkage loss” category, along with other causes such as breakage or employee theft.
Target CEO Brian Cornell focused on the issue on a recent earnings outlook conference call, announcing that the business has beaten earnings expectations but faces a bleak future.
“The issue affects us all, it limits product availability, creates a less convenient shopping experience and puts our team and guests at risk,” he said on the call, as reported by CNBC.
He expects the theft to cause another $500 million in damage within the next year, he said.
According to a Foot Locker report, Foot Locker CEO Mary Dillon said that as a clothing salesperson, she has been particularly hard hit by the rise in organized shoplifting FOX business.
The total shrinkage cost for retailers in the United States in 2022 is estimated at about $100 billion, said David Johnston, spokesman for the National Retail Federation (NRF), in the report.
And the risk goes beyond lost profits, Johnston said.
“Employees and customers were injured,” he added. “Employees were killed during these shopliftings.”
A California man was shot dead killed in April while attempting to stop a shoplifter at a Home Depot where he worked.
Walmart CEO John Furner told investors in another earnings call last week that the retail theft was “really challenging,” but that “we’re going to be actively addressing this issue,” he said.
However, he noted that “protecting our customers, our employees and our assets and inventory” cannot be achieved alone.
“It will require communities to take action and enforce the law to bring this problem back under control,” he said.
Earlier this year, Walmart decided to close its last remaining stores in Portland, Oregon due to poor performance and runaway theft.
“You can always replace a product. You can’t replace the individual,” Johnston said.
Groups like the NRF are pushing for national laws to tackle rising retail crime, including creating a network of interdepartmental law enforcement agencies to share information and investigative tools.