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'Increasingly Serious' Retail Crime Is Hitting Another Beloved U.S. Retailer Hard — and Its CEO Reveals a Bleak Trajectory Violent retail theft incidents are also on the rise.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • Inventory shrinkage refers to the loss of inventory not due to sales.
  • Dick's Sporting Goods reduced its full-year earnings forecast in part because of inventory shrinkage.
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Retail crime is still on the rise — and hurting some of the nation's biggest retailers.

Dick's Sporting Goods is one of the latest to call out the issue. CEO Lauren Hobart said the company reduced its full-year earnings forecast "due in large part to the impact of elevated inventory shrink," TheStreet reported.

Related: Walmart CEO Says Retail Theft Could Lead To Store Closures

Inventory shrinkage refers to the loss of inventory not due to sales.

Now, Dick's anticipates its earnings-per-share to come in 12% under previous expectations, and Q2 results reveal a 23% decrease in profit, per the outlet.

Inventory shrink is a "rapidly ballooning issue," the National Retail Federation's annual survey found, soaring up 53% to $94.5 billion between 2019 and 2021.

Retired professor of sociology and criminology at the University of Florida Richard Hollinger told CNN Business: "There's no way to know exactly where the losses are coming from." Still, many retailers say organized crime has continued to get worse, per the outlet.

Hobart maintained the issue is "increasingly serious," and Dick's chief financial officer Navdeep Gupta told TheStreet that "the number of incidents and the organized retail crime impact came in significantly higher than we anticipated, and that impacted our Q2 results as well."

Related: Walgreens CFO: We 'Cried Too Hard On Theft'

Violent retail crime is also surging. In the first five months of 2023, Target stores saw a nearly 120% spike in those incidents, CNBC reported.

Earlier this month, "flash mobs" hit two Los Angeles malls in Glendale and Woodland Hills, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, and a shoplifting incident at a Lululemon in Georgia earlier this year involving three masked men led to the termination of two employees who confronted them.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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