(KRON) — The CFO of Walgreens said the company may have overblown concerns over retail theft, according to a report from CNBC. During a company earnings call, Walgreens CFO James Kehoe reportedly said the company might have “cried too much last year” about retail theft.
Kehoe had previously stated that shrinkage was about 3.5% of sales last year, but now that number is closer to “mid twos,” he reportedly said. Retail shrinkage refers to when a company loses inventory from causes other than sales. “Retail shrinkage causes a discrepancy between the inventory list and the number of products actually in stock,” according to Indeed.com.
“Maybe we cried too much last year,” about retail theft, Kehoe reportedly said. “We’re stabilized,” adding that the company is “quite happy with where we are.” Kehoe also reportedly said the company would consider moving away from having private security guards in stores.
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Walgreens has been one of the leading retail chains sounding the alarm over increased retail theft. In addition to putting private security guards in stores, Walgreens has been locking down an increasing amount of merchandise at stores, making it impossible to access without a store associate.
Walgreens is the largest retail pharmacy chain in San Francisco, but in recent years, has closed many of its SF locations, citing rising crime and homelessness. Last year, a judge ruled that the retail chain had “substantially” contributed to the city’s opioid addiction epidemic. The ruling stated that Walgreens had flooded area pharmacies with millions of opioid pills without proper safeguards to prevent suspicious prescriptions from being filled.
KRON4 reached out to Walgreens for comment and received the following statement:
“Although we are pleased to see retail shrink levels stabilize, this is still a serious national problem affecting all retailers. We have taken a number of steps to address this issue and, most importantly, protect the safety of our customers and team members, including our highly-valued partnerships with law enforcement and security professionals.”
We are also pleased with the recent passage of the INFORM Consumers Act, which will help to remove the anonymity on online platforms by creating basic accountability measures that protect consumers from illicit goods. This legislation will aid law enforcement in their efforts to track organized crime, making it more difficult for bad actors to build illegal businesses and profit by selling stolen or counterfeit merchandise.”