Walmart CEO warns the retail giant could hike prices and close stores if thefts continue

Walmart CEO warns the retail giant could hike prices and close stores if thefts continue

Walmart’s CEO has warned the retail giant may have to hike prices and close some stores due to “historically high” levels of theft.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon admitted on Tuesday to CNBC’s Squawk Box that theft has become a major problem for the chain known for its low prices, and said the lenient policies of the woke prosecutors needed “correcting.”

“If this is not corrected over time, prices will go higher and our stores will close,” he told co-host Rebecca Quick.

McMillon didn’t specify in the interview which locations saw this record level of shoplifting, but his announcement comes after Walmart’s Los Angeles locked up most of its inventory to prevent further theft.

Just a month ago, the chief financial officer of Walmart’s biggest competitor, Target, revealed that shoplifting at its stores was up more than 50 percent year over year, resulting in more than $400 million in losses in 2022 alone.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon admitted Tuesday that theft has become a major problem for the retailer known for its low prices

He was careful not to specify which locations had seen a record number of robberies, but said the woke prosecutors' lenient policy needed

He was careful not to specify which locations had seen a record number of robberies, but said the woke prosecutors’ lenient policy needed “correcting”.

Walmart executives have notoriously remained silent about how much of a problem shoplifting is for the company, though Forbes previously estimated the chain loses about $3 billion a year to theft.

But in his interview on Tuesday, McMillon admitted: “Theft is a problem. It’s higher than what it historically was.’

He said the company is being forced to implement new security measures at various locations, but stressed that he sees local law enforcement as the main solution to the growing problem.

“I think part of that equation is that local law enforcement is staffed and there’s a good partner and that’s how we usually go about it,” he said.

“Store leaders work with local law enforcement and for the most part we have great relationships there.”

Throughout the interview, McMillon was careful not to discuss where these high levels of shoplifting occurred, even as Quick pressed the CEO about what he thinks of the woke district attorneys in major American cities who are no longer prosecuting shoplifters.

He just said the problem is “really city by city, place by place.”

But a recent poll by reporters from the Los Angeles Times found that all of the Walmarts they visited in the city have now divested a portion of their dispensaries, which sell high-priced health and beauty products.

Now, if a shopper wants to buy expensive make-up or shampoo, they have to enter the partitioned area and pay at the cash register before going back to the store through a narrow exit.

Men’s underwear was also locked up at several locations reporters visited last month, and to buy a pair of boxer shorts at the Burbank store, reporters had to wait eight and a half minutes for a clerk to open the Plexiglas box.

Critics have blamed the bright-eyed District Attorney George Gascon for the rise in crime after he restricted the use of penalty amendments that would lengthen the prison sentence of a theft, for example if they used a gun in the act

Critics have blamed the bright-eyed District Attorney George Gascon for the rise in crime after he restricted the use of penalty amendments that would lengthen the prison sentence of a theft, for example if they used a gun in the act

According to statistics from the Los Angeles Police Department, the number of robberies in the city has skyrocketed 10.7 percent over the past year, with burglaries up nearly 13 percent and motor vehicle thefts up 8.1 percent.

Personal theft is also up nearly 14 percent, contributing to a 7.4-fold increase in overall crime in the California city.

At the same time, however, robbery arrests are up just 2.7 percent — while burglary arrests are down 4.9 percent and auto theft arrests are down 8.2 percent from a year earlier.

Critics blame woke District Attorney George Gascon for this crime spike.

Even before his election, Gascon had been vocal about his belief that the criminal justice system needed to focus more on intervention and rehabilitation, and branding “tough on crime” policies as racist.

As soon as he took office, he restricted the use of penal additives that would extend the prison sentence of a theft if, for example, they used a gun in the act.

He also banned prosecutors from charging juveniles as adults, regardless of the seriousness of their alleged crimes.

These lax bail reform laws in often liberal cities, including New York and San Francisco, mean the thieves who commit the crimes face virtually no fine.

With no threat of jail time, the crooks are released back onto the streets and allowed to commit another crime, often on the same day they were originally arrested.

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But the shoplifting problem isn’t limited to Los Angeles, as several cities across the country have reported thefts at local Walmarts in the past three weeks.

On November 22, a group of more than 20 shoplifters were caught on surveillance camera entering a Walmart in Memphis, Tennessee, and running away with their arms full of expensive goods.

Police said 22 armed shoplifters entered the store after allegedly throwing a tire lever through a window.

The thugs were then able to leave the scene with two speakers, two flat screen televisions, shop vacuums, car batteries and two Black Panther scooters totaling $7,715.80.

Just days later, a man in Jackson, Mississippi, sent three children to a Walmart to shop for him.

James Jackson then led police on a chase through the city before finally being arrested at 7:30 p.m. on November 29, WLBT reports.

He was charged with three counts of contributing to underage crime, child endangerment, DUI, traffic offences, escape crimes, resisting arrest and shoplifting.

Then, on December 3, Leanne R. White, 38, was arrested in the parking lot of a Walmart in upstate New York, where she attempted to wheel a shopping cart containing 56 items, valued at $588.79, out of the store without closing pay.

When police arrived at the scene, officers from Walmart Asset Protection showed where she was attempting to flee and was able to apprehend White.

They later discovered that she had previously been banned from all Walmart stores on April 4, 2021 for a similar incident.

She now faces charges of petty theft, fourth-degree criminal mischief and third-degree burglary, WIVB reports.

Recently, a Florida man was arrested after allegedly attempting to steal from the St. Cloud Walmart while the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office was holding his store with a cop event for local kids.

About 40 officers were inside the store when the man, identified only as “Brad,” attempted to escape from the store with several items.

“Bad news Brad,” the sheriff’s office posted on Facebook Thursday, adding, “Seriously, we can’t fix this.”

Under the leadership of the ousted Chesa Boudin, San Francisco has effectively decriminalized petty crimes like retail theft

Under the leadership of the ousted Chesa Boudin, San Francisco has effectively decriminalized petty crimes like retail theft

Walgreens closed 17 of its 70 San Francisco stores due to persistent shoplifting.  One of the stores pictured above that was closed was the subject of a viral video showing a man filling a bin bag full of goods while security guards looked on and let him go

Walgreens closed 17 of its 70 San Francisco stores due to persistent shoplifting. One of the stores pictured above that was closed was the subject of a viral video showing a man filling a bin bag full of goods while security guards looked on and let him go

Several chains have already been forced to close some of their locations after a spate of so-called “slash and grab” raids on the west coast earlier this year.

Usually these were getaway drivers who waited outside department stores while their accomplices pulled what they could from the shelves inside.

Drugstore chains like Walgreens and CVS have become attractive and easy targets for these shoplifters, leading to numerous store closures in the Bay Area.

Walgreens last year said retail theft in San Francisco was five times the chain average and security costs were 46 times the chain average, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The region’s largest city, led by ousted district attorney Chesa Boudin, has effectively decriminalized petty crimes like retail theft.

Meanwhile, similar heists are taking place across the country in New York, where thieves have been beating the same Upper East Side Rite Aid for months, forcing it to close.

A Rite-Aid store on 80th Street and 2nd Avenue in one of New York City’s most affluent neighborhoods closed its doors for good in February after a thief was caught on video boldly strolling out with grocery bags full of stolen goods.

A similar closure followed in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood and on the Upper West Side.

The chain announced last year that it would close about 63 stores in the US over the next few years, citing cost-cutting measures to save $25 million a year – but workers say thefts are part of the reason for the closures as inventories have continued to shrink.