Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said on Tuesday that increased shoplifting is affecting profits and employee safety at the electronics retailer.
“We’re seeing more loosely organized groups come together and target our stores. And frankly, we’re seeing it across retail, targeting stores and going in and grabbing large swathes of merchandise and going out,” Barry told CNBC’s Squawk on the Street. “For our employees these are traumatic experiences, and they are happening more and more across the country.”
Barry said the rise in thefts was a “horrible change in the trajectory of the business,” and that Best Buy was taking measures to safeguard employee safety including working with local law enforcement agencies.
“We are seeing more and more particularly organized retail crime,” Barry told analysts on Tuesday. “You can see that pressure in our financials, and more importantly, frankly, you can see that pressure with our associates. It’s traumatizing.”
Barry identified San Francisco and other places in California as “hot spots” for such crime, although Best Buy is seeing thefts nationwide.
Barry’s remarks came after a group of 20 looters burglarized a Nordstrom store at The Grove shopping mall in Los Angeles, while dozens of looters robbed a Nordstrom in Walnut Creek, outside of San Francisco, on Saturday. Another group targeted stores in Hayward and San Jose over the weekend.