Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said thieves, sometimes armed and sometimes in groups, are robbing the stores at an increased rate.
The uptick in theft is cutting into the chain’s profits and there is concern it will cause employees to leave, at a time when retaining employees is critical.
Barry told the financial channel CNBC that the retailer has seen a marked jump in organized thefts of consumer electronics. Sometimes the thieves will carry a weapon such as a gun or crowbar. Barry said the chain is prioritizing the welfare of its employees and shoppers, even if that means the criminals get away.
“These are traumatic experiences, and they are happening more and more across the country,” she said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”
To counter the trend, Best Buy has taken to locking up some merchandise. It is also hiring security guards in some locations and working with trade groups to find solutions.
Best Buy stores in California including San Francisco are seeing the hike in crime, as are certain other areas around the country.
CNBC reports a trend in “smash and grab” theft at other national retailers including Nordstrom. Walgreens said it is closing some stores because of increase crime.
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