Best Buy CEO: Combating Organized Retail Crime Is Affecting Profits And Employees

On Tuesday, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry stated that rising larceny impacts the electronics retailer’s revenues and staff safety. “More loosely organized groups are coming together and targeting our shops,” Barry added. “These are horrible situations for our employees, and they are becoming more common across the country.”

The surge in thefts, according to Barry, is a “terrible change in the business’s trajectory,” and Best Buy is taking steps to ensure staff safety, including collaborating with local law enforcement authorities.

Although thefts from Best Buy happen all around the country, San Francisco and other parts of California are “hot locations” for this type of crime. “You can see that strain in our finances, but more significantly, you can feel it in our employees,” Barry adds.

On Saturday, a gang of 20 rioters looted a Nordstrom store in The Grove shopping mall in Los Angeles, while dozens of thieves attacked a Nordstrom in Walnut Creek, California, west of San Francisco. Over the weekend, another gang attacked establishments in Hayward and San Jose.

According to chief financial officer Janice Barry, to combat organized crime, Best Buy is locking up some of its products, hiring security guards, and collaborating with trade associations. She claims that “hot zones” for the crimes have been San Francisco and other parts of California but pockets of criminality all around the country. Walgreens has announced that specific locations would be closed due to an increase in thefts, and Kroger has also stated that there has been an increase.

Looters attacked two Nordstrom shops in California in “smash-and-grab” thefts. The business forbids its staff from confronting the crooks, and in certain situations, law enforcement places a higher priority on other types of crimes. Best Buy’s fiscal third-quarter profits above forecasts, but shares slumped Tuesday as Wall Street fretted about sagging consumer electronics demand.