retail theft they have skyrocketed in recent years, creating a multi-billion dollar problem for retailers and forcing companies to take drastic measures to protect themselves from lost profits.
Numerous pharmacies, grocery stores and other retailers have shortened hours of operation or have been forced to close permanently as locked-up merchandise becomes commonplace to guard against thieves and thieves.
“It has to do with all the shoplifting,” a Walgreens employee told Fox Business last month about why ice cream freezers were secured with chains and padlocks.
Crime has hit retailers across the country hard, costing businesses about $94.5 billion, the National Retail Federation reported last month. It has affected businesses large and small, with Target reporting a 50% increase in shoplifting incidents last year, accounting for a whopping $400 million in losses.
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a new report Posted by DealAid, which was provided to Fox News Digital, found that more than 80% of retailers across the country have seen an increase in violence associated with theft in the past year. About 56% of small retail businesses experienced theft in the past year and 46% of small businesses had to raise prices due to shoplifting losses, according to the report.
AS WALMART CEO WARNS ABOUT THE IMPACT OF THE CRIME WAVE ON RETAIL, REPORTS SHOW HOW THIEVES BLESSEDLY SCAMMING STORES
Beyond installing more private security measures like cameras, security guards and dedicated retail loss prevention team members, some stores are taking more high-tech measures to protect their merchandise.
Home repair chain Lowe’s announced a crackdown on power tool theft, with a new process that would render items virtually unusable after they’re stolen. A new initiative called “Project Unlock” will use RFID chips and scanners to activate power tools when purchased.
If a power tool is stolen and doesn’t turn on at checkout, it won’t turn on.
“In recent years, theft, driven in large part by organized groups, has increased throughout the retail industry,” Lowe’s said in a December 2022 video announcing the initiative. “The net result has been blocked store experiences that penalize customers.”
“We believe there are better ways to stop theft than to block products.”
Home Depot started a similar initiative last year to protect its power tools.
But for many other retailers, closing merchandise remains the top response to rising crime, especially in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York.
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“Everyone is shutting down everything. It’s a siege mentality,” Indyme CEO Joe Budano told Forbes last year. Indyme is a San Diego-based company that sells security devices like help buttons that customers press when they need an employee to retrieve something from a locked cabinet, and according to Budano, business grew 40% last year.
Customers at some pharmacies and big box stores have seen everything from candy to mascara to nasal spray locked up in recent months, leading to frustration.
“I always had a hard time finding a staff member to come unlock them,” Roger Evans of Arizona told Insider last month about why he stopped shopping at Walgreens and CVS to buy razors. “Pharmacies have been perpetually understaffed.”
While security helps prevent theft, you risk losing customers because of the extra waiting time for a store clerk to come and open a cabinet or product, critics said. Budano estimated that retailers typically see a 15% to 25% drop in sales from customers who decline to purchase a blocked item and instead choose to shop online or at a different store.
Some smaller shops that sell high-end items such as jewelry have moved to operate by appointment only.
In New York City earlier this month, a jewelry store was attacked by masked robbers who stole up to $2 million worth of gems in less than a minute.
The Brooklyn jewelry store will now operate by appointment only until further security measures are installed. It’s a tactic Madison Avenue stores on the Upper East Side used last year to combat daytime shoplifters, the New York Post reported in April.
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Small business owners without the funds of a national chain are getting even more creative about protecting their inventory.
A Houston, Texas bar owner told Fox News: “fox and friends“This month he has been sleeping in his restaurant to protect himself from robberies.
“This is a major problem in our city right now,” said Cobo’s barbecue owner, Raúl Jacobo. co-host Carley Shimkus. “If I’m frustrated…based on these robberies, I can imagine how families feel who have actually lost loved ones because certain criminals are back on the streets.”
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“It’s a very frustrating situation… in general… we have no choice but to sleep in our establishments just to protect what is ours,” he added.
In Philadelphia, a gas station owner has hired private security guards wearing Kevlar vests and armed with AR-15s or shotguns to protect the establishment.
Last year, San Francisco police policed popular retailers like Walgreens, Old Navy, Target, Whole Foods, CVS and Macy’s to catch shoplifters and other retail thieves.
Shoplifting and organized retail theft are not likely to disappear from stores this year, experts said.
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The study 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 departments dedicated to preventing organized retail crime, such as theft and robbery. .
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