Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that the massive wave of retail thefts at company stores will lead to higher prices or closed stores if the problem persists.
“Theft is an issue. It’s higher than what it has historically been,” McMillon told Squawk Box’s hosts.
“We’ve got safety measures, security measures that we’ve put in place by store location. I think local law enforcement being staffed and being a good partner is part of that equation, and that’s normally how we approach it,” he continued.
Squawk Box’s Rebecca Quick then pointed out how certain cities have changed shoplifting rules, making it harder for police to prosecute criminals. She asked McMillon: “Does that matter?”
He responded: “If that’s not corrected over time, prices will be higher, and/or stores will close.”
Besides Walmart, Target complained last month about an organized retail crime wave, resulting in a massive hit on profits this year. The retailer employed theft-deterrent merchandising strategies, but that wasn’t enough to stop criminals from running off with everything on the shelves.
Target’s latest earnings report revealed gross profit margins were reduced by $400 million this year due to shrinking, the industry’s term for theft and product loss.
Target CFO Michael Fiddelke said, “We know we’re not alone across retail in seeing a trend [crime wave] that I think has gotten increasingly worse over the last 12 to 18 months.”
Organized retail crime has exploded under the Biden administration while progressive-run cities implement social justice reform. Such policies have backfired and fueled a nationwide crime wave.
Walmart and Target blame thefts on organized crime gangs. Stores have deployed on/off duty police and shatterproof glass cabinets to guard high-value items.
US retailers have demanded Congress do something. The US Chamber of Commerce has described the looting as a “national crisis.”
Walmart could follow Walgreens Pharmacy’s playbook and begin closing stores in Democrat-controlled cities to mitigate theft.
Here’s the full interview: