Walmart CEO warns that retail giant could HIKE prices and shut down stores if thefts continue

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The Walmart CEO has warned that the retail giant may have to raise prices and close some stores amid ‘historically high’ theft.

Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Tuesday, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon admitted that theft has become a major problem for the chain known for its low prices, saying the lenient policies of district attorneys should be “corrected”.

“If that’s not corrected over time, prices will be higher and our stores will close,” he told co-anchor Rebecca Quick.

McMillon did not specify in the interview which locations have experienced this record level of store theft, but his announcement comes after Los Angeles Walmarts resorted to locking down most of their inventory to prevent further theft.

Just a month ago, the CFO of Walmart’s biggest rival, Target, also revealed that theft at its stores had risen more than 50 percent year-over-year, leading to losses of more than $400 million in 2022 alone.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon admitted Tuesday that theft has become a major problem for the retailer known for its low prices.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon admitted Tuesday that theft has become a major problem for the retailer known for its low prices.

1670358217 318 Walmart CEO warns that retail giant could HIKE prices and

1670358217 318 Walmart CEO warns that retail giant could HIKE prices and

He was careful not to specify which locations have experienced record levels of theft, but said the lenient policies of district attorneys must be “corrected.”

However, Walmart executives have been notoriously secretive about how problematic store theft is for the company. Forbes has previously estimated that the chain loses around $3 billion a year due to thefts.

But in his interview on Tuesday, McMillon admitted: ‘Theft is a problem. It is higher than it has been historically.

He said the company was forced to implement new security measures at different locations, but stressed that he saw local law enforcement as the main solution to the growing problem.

“I think staffing local law enforcement and being a good partner is part of that equation, and that’s typically how we approach it,” he said.

“They are the store managers who work with the local police and we have great relationships there for the most part.”

Throughout the interview, McMillon was careful not to discuss which locations have experienced these high levels of shoplifting, even as Quick pressed the CEO on what he thinks of waking district attorneys in major American cities who already they don’t prosecute thieves.

He only said that the problem is “really city by city, location by location.”

But a recent poll by reporters in the Los Angeles Times found out that every Walmart they visited in town has now split up a portion of their pharmacies where high-priced health and beauty products are sold.

Now, if a shopper wants to buy expensive makeup or shampoos, they must enter the divided area and pay the cashier before exiting through a narrow exit back into the store.

Men’s underwear was also locked up in several of the places reporters visited last month, and to buy a pair of boxers at the store in Burbank, reporters had to wait eight and a half minutes for an employee to open the box of plexiglass. .

Critics have blamed District Attorney George Gascon for the rise in crime, after he limited the use of sentencing enhancements that would add more time to the prison sentence for robbery if, for example, a weapon was used during the act.

Critics have blamed District Attorney George Gascon for the rise in crime, after he limited the use of sentencing enhancements that would add more time to the prison sentence for robbery if, for example, a weapon was used during the act.

Critics have blamed District Attorney George Gascon for the rise in crime, after he limited the use of sentencing enhancements that would add more time to the prison sentence for robbery if, for example, a weapon was used during the act.

The city has seen robberies skyrocket 10.7 percent over last year, according to Los Angeles Police Department statistics, with robberies up nearly 13 percent and burglaries up 8.1 percent. in motor vehicle thefts.

Personal burglaries also increased nearly 14 percent, contributing to a 7.4 increase in overall California citywide crime.

Yet at the same time, theft arrests only increased 2.7 percent, while theft arrests actually decreased 4.9 percent and motor vehicle theft arrests decreased 8.2 percent. compared to last year.

Critics have blamed District Attorney George Gascon for this rise in crime.

Even before being elected, Gascón had expressed his belief that the criminal justice system needs to focus more on intervention and rehabilitation, criticizing “tough on crime” policies as racist.

Once he took office, he limited the use of sentencing enhancements that would add more time to the prison sentence for robbery if, for example, they used a weapon during the act.

It also barred prosecutors from charging minors as adults, regardless of the seriousness of the alleged crimes.

These lax bail reform laws in often-liberal cities, including New York and San Francisco, mean there’s virtually no penalty for thieves who commit the crimes.

Without any threat of a jail sentence, thieves are released back onto the streets and may re-offend, often on the same day as their original arrest.

1670358223 553 Walmart CEO warns that retail giant could HIKE prices and

1670358223 553 Walmart CEO warns that retail giant could HIKE prices and

But the problem of shoplifting isn’t limited to Los Angeles, as multiple cities across the country reported robberies at local Walmarts in the past three weeks.

On November 22, a group of more than 20 shoplifters were caught on surveillance camera entering a Walmart in Memphis, Tennessee and running away with arms full of expensive merchandise.

Police said 22 armed robbers entered the store after they allegedly threw a tire wrench through a window.

The thugs were then able to leave the scene with two speakers, two flat screen televisions, vacuum cleaners, car batteries, and two Black Panther scooters worth a total of $7,715.80.

Just a few days later, in Jackson, Mississippi, a man sent three children to a Walmart to shoplift on his behalf.

James Jackson then led police on a chase through the city before finally being apprehended on November 29 at 7:30 p.m., WLBT reports.

He was charged with three counts of contributing to juvenile delinquency, child endangerment, DUI, traffic offenses, felony escape, resisting arrest and shoplifting.

Then, on December 3, Leanne R. White, 38, was arrested in the parking lot of a Walmart in upstate New York, where she tried to push a shopping cart with 56 items valued at $588.79 out of the store. shop without paying

When police arrived on the scene, Walmart Asset Protection officers pointed out where he tried to flee and were able to apprehend White.

They later found out that he had previously been banned from all Walmart stores on April 4, 2021 for a similar incident.

She is now charged with petty theft, criminal mischief in the fourth degree and robbery in the third degree. WIVB reports.

Most recently, a Florida man was arrested after he allegedly attempted to rob a St. Cloud Walmart while the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office was holding its Shop with a Cop event for local children.

There were around 40 officers inside the store when the man, only identified as ‘Brad’, attempted to escape with various items from the store.

‘Bad News Brad’, Sheriff’s Office aware on Facebook on Thursday, adding: “Seriously, we can’t make this up.”

Under the leadership of ousted Chesa Boudin, San Francisco has effectively decriminalized low-level crimes like retail theft.

Under the leadership of ousted Chesa Boudin, San Francisco has effectively decriminalized low-level crimes like retail theft.

Under the leadership of ousted Chesa Boudin, San Francisco has effectively decriminalized low-level crimes like retail theft.

Walgreens closed 17 of its 70 San Francisco stores due to repeated shoplifting.  The closure of one of the stores, pictured above, was the subject of a viral video showing a man filling a garbage bag with produce as security guards watched and let him go.

Walgreens closed 17 of its 70 San Francisco stores due to repeated shoplifting.  The closure of one of the stores, pictured above, was the subject of a viral video showing a man filling a garbage bag with produce as security guards watched and let him go.

Walgreens closed 17 of its 70 San Francisco stores due to repeated shoplifting. The closure of one of the stores, pictured above, was the subject of a viral video showing a man filling a garbage bag with produce as security guards watched and let him go.

Several chains have already been forced to close some of their locations following a spate of so-called ‘slash and grab’ robberies hit the West Coast earlier this year.

They usually involved getaway drivers waiting outside department stores while their accomplices pulled what they could from the shelves inside.

Pharmacy chains like Walgreens and CVS have become attractive and easy targets for these thieves, leading to the closure of numerous stores in the Bay Area.

Walgreens said last year that retail theft in San Francisco was five times the chain average and security costs were 46 times the chain average, it reported. San Francisco Chronicle.

The area’s largest city, under the leadership of ousted District Attorney Chesa Boudin, has effectively decriminalized petty crimes like retail shoplifting.

Meanwhile, similar robberies have been taking place across the country in New York with thieves hitting the same Upper East Side Rite Aid for months, forcing it to shut down.

A Rite Aid store, located at the corner of 80th Street and 2nd Avenue in one of New York City’s wealthiest neighborhoods, closed its doors for good in February after a thief was caught on video boldly walking around with bags. shopping cart full of stolen items. .

A similar lockdown followed in the city’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood and another on the Upper West Side.

The chain announced last year that it would close about 63 US stores over the next few years, citing cost-cutting measures to save $25 million a year, but workers say theft is part of the reason for closures as inventory. it continued to decline.