Mumbai, September 3: As petty theft and organised stealing escalate, and customers struggle with rising living costs, basic staples like toothpaste, chocolate, washing powder, and deodorant are being kept behind closed doors at US businesses. Major retailers Walmart and Target, pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens, home improvement company Home Depot, and shoe retailer Foot Locker are a few of the companies that have expressed alarm over an increase in thefts, including violent instances, in their most recent earnings reports.

Dick's Sporting Goods CEO Lauren Hobart stated that organised retail crime and theft in general are becoming more of a severe problem for many shops.  The effects of theft on the company's inventory were "meaningful" for both the results of the second quarter and the forecast for the rest of the year, she noted. Dick's had provided guidance of $12.90 to $13.80, but now anticipates earnings per share for the year to be between $11.33 and $12.13. Mass Looting at US Mall Videos: Police Investigating Flash Mob Robbery After Dozens of Burglars Ransack Westfield Topanga Mall in California. 

The National Retail Federation's 2022 retail security report estimates that merchants nationwide lost $94.5 billion to "shrink" in 2021 alone. The term 'retail shrink' refers to the loss of merchandise due to things like employee theft, shoplifting, or administrative mistakes. According to the poll, organised retail crime increased by 26.5 per cent overall for retailers in 2021, with the majority of participants indicating that the epidemic has increased the dangers.

Stores have responded by adding glass barriers with locks on the shelves, occasionally padlocked chains on the refrigerators, and strewn call buttons for personnel in the aisles. In order to discourage stealing, unprotected shelves are sometimes only partially filled. Box-Wearing Robber in US Video: Florida Man Wraps Box Around His Head to Rob Phone Repair Shop, Arrested as He Reveals Face While Checking Stolen Phones.

For their own safety, several stores reportedly advise their employees to refrain from intervening during thefts and from calling the police. Giant is considering shutting a supermarket in Washington where there has been "significant, and worsening," theft and violence. A representative told AFP that other places were also affected, and it is getting harder to function under these circumstances.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 03, 2023 02:58 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website