Theft is a huge problem for Wal-Mart.
The world’s largest retailer likely loses about 1% of its US revenue — or roughly $US3 billion dollars every year — to stealing by customers and employees, Reuters reports.
Reducing these losses is now a top priority for Wal-Mart, according to Greg Foran, the head of the company’s US operations.
“One per cent of $US300 billion is quite a lot of money. If you can save 10 basis points [or 0.1%] of it — boy I’ll take it every day of the week and put it into lower prices for customers,” Foran told Reuters.
The losses could come from stealing or mistakes in recording inventory, he said.
In an earnings call last month, Foran blamed a decline in gross profit margins on theft, which the company calls “shrink,” Reuters notes. He said half of the theft occurred in the food departments.
“In the first quarter, gross profit rate declined 13 basis points, driven primarily by a headwind from shrink, half of which was in food,” he said, according to a transcript. “We are addressing this increase immediately, bringing a high level of focus and visibility to this concern by adding it as a key urgent agenda item this year.”
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