Home Depot Inc. says that there is a sudden surge in theft in many of its stores. It is an organized crime that is hurting its financial results, says the company.
Millions of products are getting stolen from shelves. The theft is so huge that it may also result in lower operating profits, says the company.
CEO Craig Menear says that this theft is high in almost all other stores too. This organized crime may also be connected to the opioid crisis, says the CEO.
The theft is not for personal gain. The theft is made by a large ring of robbers who steal the goods for cash. It is then resold in pawnshops or through online sales. This is an organized crime that is shrinking its profits says the U.S. retailer.
Home Depot suspects that the crime is committed by those who are addicted to opioids. Such criminals will do anything to get money, says the company.
Home Depot surveillance video show such suspects punching store employees and squirting pepper spray into the eyes of workers to get away.
The National Retail Federation has found that there is an overall increase in organized crime in its retail business. Two-thirds of the U.S. retailers have been affected, says the report.
One of the top officials of Home Depot Ann-Marie Campbell says that several steps have been taken to protect their stores from theft. Checks at point-of-sale counters, security systems, and even machine learning technology have been used. High-value products have been placed at strategic points that have more security.
The company states that its operating profit margin may come down by 14 percent, as losses have accumulated through theft.
Retail businesses are losing almost $51 Billion in their sales annually, states the National Retail Federation.
Vice President of the Association Bob Moraca says that organized retail crime is a serious challenge faced by the retail industry.