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Walgreens executive says company ‘grays too much’ about shoplifting, thefts

A man walks out of a looted Walgreens in Times Square

A man walks out of a looted Walgreens in Times Square. Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

A Walgreens executive said Thursday that the company may have been overly concerned about the increase in thefts and the increase in attempted shoplifting last year, CNN reports.

Why it’s important: Shoplifting has become a major crisis across the country, which has led to stores closing their doors and locking up everyday goods, writes Jennifer A. Kingson of Axios.

  • Organized crime gangs are looting stories and have become more aggressive and violent in their attempts.

Driving the news: “Maybe we cried too much last year,” Walgreens Chief Financial Officer James Kehoe said Thursday on an earnings call about the company’s concerns over shoplifting, according to CNN.

  • Walgreens’ shrink rate fell from 3.5% in 2021 to 2.5% in the latest quarter, CNN reports.
  • “We’re stabilized,” he said, according to CNBC, adding that Walgreen is “pretty happy with where we are.”

The big picture: Shrinkage is a term used to describe the loss of inventory due to theft, fraud, damage and other factors.

Retailers join forces to push for more verification of online sellers to limit the resale of stolen goods.

  • Walgreens hired private security guards and locked up simple items so people couldn’t access them without an associate, CNBC reports.

  • “Probably we’re putting in too much and we can pull back a little bit from that,” Kehoe told CNN.

Yes, but: There are other retailers — such as Walmart and Target — that recently said theft has been a major problem. For example, Target said in November it lost $400 million from shrinkage, and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said he may have to close stores or raise prices if his company can’t get shrinkage under control.

More from Axios:

Shoplifting is reaching crisis proportions

Businesses are implementing technology to prevent retail crime

As inflation continues to rise, more petty thefts count as crimes

Retailers are pushing for new rules to stop the online sale of stolen goods

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