Ex-CEO warns of retail theft: ‘Spreading faster than COVID’

With major retailers like Walmart and Home Depot warning of a spike in retail theft this holiday season, two experts predict it will “only grow into an ‘epidemic’ from here.”

“This is an epidemic today. It’s spreading faster than COVID,” former Chrysler chairman and CEO and Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli said Thursday on “Fox & Friends.” . There’s a right out there that if you’ve got it, you’ve worked hard to get it. I want it. I just get it.”

“It’s not about the numbers, although the numbers are scary, it’s about how it’s going and the implications for every community and every store where it’s happening,” said Carl Gould, business analyst and president of 7 Phase Advisors. “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” Wed.

“The main problem here is that this type of crime fuels other types of crime, and it only escalates from there.”

During an appearance on CNBC on Tuesday, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said the theft “higher than historical“. He explained that Walmart has safety and security measures in place “that we’ve put in place on a store-by-store basis” to help combat the problem.

“I think local law enforcement and being a good partner is part of that equation, and that’s how we usually approach it,” McMillon added.

“The level of severity now, it’s not just theft, it’s ripping and grabbing,” says former Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli.
Getty Images

Walmart has joined a growing list of retailers feeling the brunt of rampant theft and crime across the country ahead of the holiday shopping season. Available at drugstores such as Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens publicly cited concerns about shopliftingas well as retailers such as Kroger, Target and Best Buy.

Home Depot also recently expressed its “outrage” after an elderly worker was pushed to his death during a shoplifting incident in North Carolina this fall.

While Nardelli, the former CEO of Home Depot, called the tragedy “very, very unfortunate” and “sad,” he charged the Biden administration with taking a stand on rising crime.

“Now it’s gotten to the point where you have Doug McMillon talking about the impact on revenue. And that’s another silent contributor to inflation,” Nardelli said. “Our partners are scared. Retailers are scared. Consumers are scared. We have to control it. And if the administration doesn’t control it, they leave it to public and private enterprises.

An 83-year-old Home Depot employee in North Carolina died in October from injuries he sustained after being pushed to the ground by a shoplifter.
An 83-year-old Home Depot employee in North Carolina died in October from injuries he sustained after being pushed to the ground by a shoplifter.
Hillsborough Police Department
The suspect knocked the 83-year-old man to the ground.
The suspect knocked 83-year-old Gary Rasor to the ground.
Hillsborough Police Department
Gary Rasor was rushed to a local hospital where he died more than 6 weeks later.
Gary Rasor was rushed to a local hospital where he died more than 6 weeks later.
Hillsborough Police Department

In mid-September, the National Retail Federation estimated total losses from shrinkage, which retailers use to account for theft and other types of inventory loss, rose to $94.5 billion in 2021. Organized retail crime According to the 2022 National Retail Security Survey, it grew by an average of 26.5% that year.

As Gould notes, “many” downsizing of major retailers “Employee inside work” may be related, but external theft driven by “opportunity” is forcing stores to demonstrate a high level of security.

A Philadelphia gas station owner told FOX Business’ Jeff Flock on Thursday that he hired an armed security guard to monitor crime.

“We are tired of this nonsense: robberies, drug dealing, [racketeering]all types [crime]” said Neil Patel. “I fear for my safety, my employee’s safety, as well as my beautiful neighborhood. All customers[s]”.

“It’s unbelievable what’s happening and what we’re allowing to happen,” Nardelli said. “Again, unfortunately, the abdication is placed in the hands of corporations like Walmart, Target, and gas stations, for example, that need to control and protect their own property and employees.”

Last year, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the main reason for this the rise of organized retail crime In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden administration has said it is working with a number of communities across the country to “tear down” crime in these neighborhoods.

But neither Nardelli nor Gould argued that the crime crisis has improved since then.

“It used to be that someone would take candy, maybe it was damaged in shipping, the inventory was misplaced,” Nardelli detailed. “But now it’s outright robbery. This is just plain robbery. These are not small things that happen. “

FOX Business’s Aislinn Murphy and Daniella Genovese contributed to this report.


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