Rising retail theft could force Walmart to close stores and raise prices, CEO Doug McMillon says

Shoplifting at Walmart stores has gotten so bad that the retail giant may close locations in areas where local governments are taking a soft approach to crime, a company executive said.

CEO Doug McMillon, who has led Walmart since 2015, confirmed that the retailer has seen an increase in “shrinkage” — a term the retail industry uses to deal with losses related to in-store theft or fraud.

“Theft is a problem. It’s higher than history,” McMillon said during the performance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” on Tuesday. “We have security measures in place, security measures in place for the location of the store.

“I think being well-staffed and partnered with local law enforcement is part of the equation, and that’s how we generally approach it,” McMillon added. “If this is not corrected over time, prices will be higher and/or stores will close.”

Walmart’s CEO did not elaborate on how many stores are at risk of closing or where the closings might occur. The Post has reached out to the company for further comment.

Walmart has 4,720 stores in the United States and 10,586 locations worldwide.

Walmart has more than 10,500 stores worldwide.
Corbis via Getty Images

McMillon added that Walmart takes a “city-by-city” and “location-by-location” approach to how it handles shoplifting.

“These are store managers who work with local law enforcement, and we often have a great relationship there,” he said.

Walmart’s chief executive is the latest executive to warn of the significant impact of what is often described as “organized retail crime.”

Last month, Target CFO Michael Fiddelke said the cuts took $400 million off the company’s profits — the ultimate impact is expected to be more than $600 million for the full year.

Target CEO Brian Cornell added that his company has “experienced a significant increase in theft and organized retail crime across our business.”

As The Post reported in September, Rite Aid executives complained that theft at New York City stores had contributed to “windfalls” and that losses related to the reduction had increased by $5 million a year.

Doug McMillon
Doug McMillon has led Walmart since 2015.
Getty Images for Tribeca Festival

“I don’t think the environment we’re operating in here, particularly in New York City, based on what you read and see on social media and the news in the city, is not conducive to reducing the downsizing,” said Rite Aid’s CEO of Retail. Andre Persaud during the then revenue survey.


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