Best Buy CEO says the trauma from rising retail thefts could force employees to quit

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  • The Best Buy CEO said rising piracy could hurt employee retention in its stores and retail industry.
  • She said the retailer will prioritize the safety of employees and customers, even if it means criminals are fleeing with stolen goods.
  • “When we talk about why so many people are looking for other jobs or changing careers, that would definitely be something that would add to my concerns for our people because again, the priority There is only human safety,” she said on a call with reporters. “And it’s hard to deal with potentially multiple times in one place.”

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Best Buy CEO Corey Barry said Tuesday that rising piracy is hurting company profits and could hurt employee retention at a time when the labor market is tight, especially in the retail industry.

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She said the retailer has seen a significant boom in organized crime, with people flocking to the stores to steal consumer electronics — and in some cases, bringing a gun or a crowbar-like weapon. She said the company will prioritize the safety of customers and employees, even if it means criminals are fleeing with goods worth thousands of dollars.

“These are traumatic experiences and they are happening more and more across the country,” she said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

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Other retailers, including Kroger, CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance, have also spoken out about the increase in thefts — Walgreens even said it was closing some stores because of it.

To fight organized crime, Best Buy is shutting down some of its goods, hiring security guards in some locations and working with retail business groups, Barry said on the earnings call.

She said San Francisco and other parts of California have been “hot spots” for crimes, but added that there are problematic pockets across the country. In some cases, she said, more than a dozen people run into a shop and run away with the goods. In other cases, it’s just a few people.

In the past week, there have been two Nordstrom stores in California Targeted by groups of robbers in this type of “smash-and-grab” robbery,

Barry said he is not sure why crimes have increased, but added that they are difficult to stop. The retailer discourages its employees from encountering thieves and, in some cases, law enforcement prefers other types of crimes.

“When we talk about why so many people are looking for other jobs or changing careers, that would definitely be something that would add to my concerns for our people because again, the priority There is only human security,” she said. “And it’s hard to deal with potentially multiple times in one place.”

Best Buy tops expectations for fiscal third-quarter earnings, but shares are falling as Wall Street worries about weak consumer electronics demand, higher levels of promotion and increased supply-chain costs in the coming year .

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