Best Buy chief executive Corie Barry is concerned that retail thefts in California stores will provoke employees to quit.
“These are traumatic experiences, and they are happening more and more across the country,” Barry told CNBC. She explained that San Francisco and other California cities represent “hot spots” for the thefts.
“When we talk about why there are so many people looking for other jobs or switching careers, this of course would be something that would play into my concerns for our people because, again, priority one is just human safety,” she said. “And it’s hard to deal with this potentially multiple times in one location.”
She said the retailer has seen a noticeable jump in organized crime, with people coming to stores to steal consumer electronics — and in some cases, bringing a weapon such as a gun or a crowbar. She said the company will prioritize the safety of customers and employees, even if that means criminals are running out the door with thousands of dollars of merchandise.
To fight organized crime, Best Buy is locking up some of its merchandise, hiring security guards in certain locations and working with retail trade groups to look for solutions, Barry said on an earnings call…
Barry said she’s not sure why the crimes have increased but they are hard to stop. The retailer discourages its employees from confronting the thieves and in some cases, law enforcement prioritizes other kinds of crimes.
As The Daily Wire reported on Monday, three stores in San Francisco were looted by mobs of thieves over the weekend. For instance, in the town of Walnut Creek — thirty minutes outside of San Francisco — eighty individuals equipped with ski masks, pepper spray, and crowbars robbed a Nordstrom store. Multiple employees were assaulted.
Other retailers are closing stores amid the crime wave. Walgreens, for example, will shutter five locations this month.
“Organized retail crime continues to be a challenge facing retailers across San Francisco, and we are not immune to that,” said Walgreens spokesman Phil Caruso. “Retail theft across our San Francisco stores has continued to increase in the past few months to five times our chain average. During this time to help combat this issue, we increased our investments in security measures in stores across the city to 46 times our chain average in an effort to provide a safe environment.”
According to a survey by the National Retail Federation last year, San Francisco is the fifth-most affected city by “organized retail crime.” Meanwhile, the San Francisco Examiner reports that progressive San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin has prosecuted far fewer shoplifting cases than his predecessor.
“The reality is the [police officers union] needs someone to point the finger at and this isn’t a new issue,” Boudin argued earlier this year. “Look, they were blaming Kamala Harris and attacking her when she was the district attorney. This is an age-old problem in San Francisco because the POA wants to get away without doing their job. They want to get away with allowing their officers to send racist text messages, to use excessive force against the community and to engage in systematic violations of civil rights of Black and brown drivers on our streets.”
“And I’m pushing back and demanding that they modernize, that they reform and that they respect all the members of our community.”