BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Increased shoplifting puts pressure on retailers and raises prices

Dec 7, 2022, 9:29 AM | Updated: 12:41 pm
shoplifting...
Stores are becoming priced-out by shoplifters. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

SALT LAKE CITY — As the holiday season continues, shoplifting is taking a toll on retail chains like Walmart and Target. Businesses are getting priced out due to shoplifting, leading to closures and price increases.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told CNBC Tuesday that high rates of shoplifting could lead to store closures and increased prices.

KSL Legal Analyst Greg Skordas said retailers have every reason to worry.

Skordas told Dave and Dujanovic that because retail theft is a minor offense, offenders often get to walk without having anything left on their record.

Retail theft is not high on the list of priorities for police or prosecutors, Skordas said. Often, offenders under the age of 18 aren’t even charged.

But, there is a three-strike law for shoplifting. Offenders run the risk of being charged with a felony if they are charged with shoplifting three times.

“It’s not a felony, it’s not the kind of thing that draws a lot of interest. And I can completely understand the frustration that retailers have because of that,” Skordas said.

Since shoplifting isn’t a priority in the justice system, retailers like Walmart and Target hire loss-prevention specialists to combat the issue themselves. But, Skordas said, that’s all at the retailer’s expense. 

And the cost of shoplifting also comes back to consumers. 

“It makes it so all of us spend more money. The cost of goods and services costs more because we’re paying for the shoplifters — what they’re taking away,” Skordas said.

Retailers can put more money toward loss prevention, but that’ll also lead to price increases.

For everyday consumers, Skordas said you can report theft to stores, notify security and even take photos of the theft. 

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Increased shoplifting puts pressure on retailers and raises prices