retail theft It has created a multi-billion dollar problem for retailers over the past few years, forcing companies to take drastic measures to protect against lost profits.
Scores of drugstores, grocery stores and other retailers have shortened store hours or been forced to close permanently as locked merchandise becomes commonplace to protect against shoplifters and thieves.
“It’s all about shoplifting,” a Walgreens employee told Fox Business last month about why the ice cream freezers were chained and locked.
Crime has hit retailers across the country hard, costing businesses an estimated $94.5 billion, the National Retail Federation reported last month. This has affected businesses large and small, with Target reporting a 50% increase in shoplifting incidents last year, resulting in $400 million in losses.
A NYC WALGREENS STORE STORES ICE CREAM ICE CREAM IN A CHAINED FREEZER, LOCKING OUT THE CANDY DURING A CHEATING SPREAD.
New report Released by DealAid, data provided to Fox News Digital found that more than 80% of retailers across the country saw an increase in theft-related violence last year. According to the report, approximately 56% of small retail businesses experienced theft in the past year, and 46% of small businesses had to increase prices due to theft losses.
AS WALMART’S CEO WARNS OF CRIME WAVE’S IMPACT ON RETAIL, REPORTS SHOW HOW THIEVES ARE SLAMMING STORES
In addition to installing more personal security measures such as cameras, guards and team members dedicated to retail loss prevention, some stores are taking more high-tech measures to protect their merchandise.
Home improvement chain Lowe’s has announced a new process to combat power tool theft with a new process that will render items virtually useless once stolen. A new initiative called Project Unlock will use RFID chips and scanners to activate power tools when they are purchased.
If a power tool is stolen and not turned on during checkout, it will not turn on.
“Theft, driven primarily by organized gangs, has increased across the retail industry in the last few years,” Lowe said in a December 2022 video announcing the initiative. “The public result has been store experiences that punish customers.”
“We believe there are better ways to prevent theft than locking products.”
Home Depot launched a similar initiative last year to protect power tools.
But for many other retailers, particularly in cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, foreclosures remain a key response to rising crime.
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Indyme CEO Joe Budano told Forbes last year: “Everyone is locking everything down. It’s a siege mentality.” Indyme, a San Diego-based company that sells security devices like help buttons that customers push when they need an employee to retrieve something from a locked cabinet, has seen business grow 40% in the past year, according to Budano.
Customers at some drugstores and big box stores have seen everything from candy to mascara to nasal spray in recent months, causing frustration.
“It was always hard for me to find an employee to unlock them,” Roger Evans of Arizona told Insider last month about why he stopped shopping at Walgreens and CVS for razors. “Pharmacies have always faced a shortage of staff.”
Critics have said that while security helps prevent theft, it risks losing customers because of the extra wait time for a store employee to come and unlock a cabinet or product. Budano estimated that retailers are seeing a 15-25% drop in sales due to customers opting out of buying a locked product and instead choosing to buy online or at another store.
Some small shops Companies that sell high-end goods such as jewelry have gone by appointment only.
Earlier this month, a New York jewelry store was targeted by masked thieves who stole up to $2 million worth of gems in less than a minute.
The Brooklyn jewelry store will now be open by appointment only until more security measures are installed. The New York Post reported in April that it was a tactical store used last year to combat daylight shoplifters from shops on Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side.
SAN FRANCISCO POLICE are secretly raiding retail stores and pharmacies to prevent FUTURE THEFTS.
Small business owners who don’t have the funds of a national chain are getting even more creative to protect their inventory.
A bar owner from Houston, Texas told Fox News.Fox and Friends“This month, he slept in his restaurant to protect himself from robberies.
“This is a major issue with our city right now,” said Raul Jacobo, owner of Cobo’s BBQ. co-host Carley Shimkus. “If I’m disappointed … based on these robberies, I can only imagine how families feel about losing a loved one because some criminals are being put on the street.”
EMBOLDENED SF SHOPKEEPER SAYS BURGLARS EASY, STORE SHOWS UNSAFE AS SHOP RECEIVED SNAP
“It’s just a very frustrating situation … everywhere … we have no choice but to sleep in our facilities just to protect what’s ours,” he said.
A Philadelphia gas station owner has hired security guards wearing Kevlar vests and armed with AR-15s or shotguns to protect the business.
Last year, San Francisco police raided popular retailers like Walgreens, Old Navy, Target, Whole Foods, CVS and Macy’s to catch shoplifters and other retail thieves.
According to experts, shoplifting and organized retail theft will not disappear this year.
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Research published by DealAid shows that organized retail crime increased by 26.5% last year, but the vast majority of retailers, around 68%, do not have a department dedicated to preventing organized retail crime, such as retail crime prevention.
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