Walmart’s CEO is warning that shoppers could encounter higher prices or possibly see stores shuttered if the growing problem of shoplifting does not subside.
“Theft is an issue. It is higher than what it has historically been,” Doug McMillon told CNBC’s Squawk Box Tuesday. “If that’s not corrected over time, prices will be higher, and/or stores will close.”
Walmart, other major retailers, and even smaller, “mom and pop” stores have seen a surge in organized theft cases over the past year, many of which are captured on store surveillance video.
Target says shoplifting has jumped roughly 50%, resulting in more than $400 million in losses this fiscal year.
“This is an industry-wide problem that is often driven by criminal networks,” Target CFO Michael Fiddelke told investors on an earnings call.
CNBC pressed McMillon on whether limited law enforcement interest of pursuing shoplifters is part of the problem.
“We’ve got safety measures, security measures that we’ve put in place by store location. I think local law enforcement being staffed and being a good partner is part of that equation,” McMillon said. “Its just policy consistency and clarity (needed) so that we can make capital investments with some vision.”