In the wake of a few high profile incidents of flash-mob style retail thefts, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said the company is considering a number of security measures in response.
After announcing the company’s 3rd Quarter results Tuesday, Barry said that the Richfield-based company is among the major retailers who have been hit in recent months by organized retail thefts.
This was most notably seen this week in California, where a group of up to 80 thieves descended on a Nordstrom store and conducted a smash-and-grab style theft, one of multiple incidents reported in the West Coast state in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, Barry expressed concern in an interview with CNBC that such large-scale thefts could impose additional trauma on employees already dealing with the pressures presented by the ongoing pandemic, and could impact retailers’ ability to attract future workers.
“When we talk about why there are so many people looking for other jobs or switching careers, this of course would be something that would play into my concerns for our people because, again, priority one is just human safety,” she told CNBC. “And it’s hard to deal with this potentially multiple times in one location.”
These comments echoed some she made on Best Buy’s earnings call Tuesday morning, in which she noted that the company is in some stores hiring additional security, and is considering locking up some of the products in a way that doesn’t too badly impact the customer experience.
“I want to start with, our priority has always been and will remain the safety of our people, whether that’s the pandemic, whether that is unruly customers, whether that is outright theft, which is a great deal of what we’re seeing right now, and this is a real issue that hurts and scares real people,” she said.
“We are doing a number of things to protect our people and our customers. We are – as we talked about in the prepared remarks, we are finding ways where we can lock up product but still make that a good customer experience. In some instances, we’re hiring security. We’re working with our vendors on creative ways we can stage the product. We’re working with trade organizations.”
The company reported positive Q3 results on Tuesday, with comparable sales rising by 2% compared to Q3 in 2020. This is impressive considering Q3 2020 saw the company post a 22.6% rise as consumers flocked for home computing and tech solutions amid the rise in work-from-home.
While there has been a significant – but unsurprising – dip in computing demand compared to last year, there have been stronger sales of appliances, home theater and mobile phones.
The rise in retail thefts has impacted some of its stock levels, but the company said that despite this and despite supply chain issues, it’s entering the 4th Quarter with a higher inventory than at the same point last year.