Walmart CEO warns that theft will lead to price hikes and store closures

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said on Tuesday that shoplifting is on the rise in Walmart locations around the country. If the trend continues, it could result in price hikes and store closures. He told CNBC, “theft is an issue. It’s higher than what it has historically been. 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, and that’s normally how we approach it.”

When questioned on Tuesday about how local governments handle incidents of stealing, McMillon said a lenient stance from prosecutors might affect prices and eventually result in store closures. He explained, “If that’s not corrected over time, prices will be higher, and/or stores will close.” He added, “It’s really city by city, location by location. It’s store managers working with local law enforcement, and we’ve got great relationships there for the most part.”

Other big-box retailers like Target have also experienced an increase in theft. Target Chief Financial Officer Michael Fiddelke said last month that shoplifting has increased by around 50% year over year, resulting in losses of more than $400 million just this fiscal year. Fiddelke noted that organized retail theft rather than small-time crime makes up the majority of loss.

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