Coordinated smash-and-grab robberies are 'traumatic experiences' for Best Buy workers, and could worsen the company's labor challenges

·2 min read
A police officer wears a mask while sitting on guard at a Best Buy in Kentucky.
A police officer wears a mask while sitting on guard at a Best Buy in Kentucky.Getty
  • Coordinated — and sometimes armed — burglaries are increasing at retailers across the country.

  • The incidents are "traumatic experiences" for workers, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said.

  • Barry said thefts are impacting profits and could lead workers to leave the company.

Loosely organized groups are targeting Best Buy locations, grabbing up large swaths of merchandise, and running out of the store, CEO Corie Barry said Tuesday.

These coordinated — and sometimes armed — burglaries present a significant safety risk to workers and employees, she said, even when the company policy is to not interfere with the suspects.

"These are traumatic experiences and they are happening more and more across the country," Barry told CNBC.

Not only is the loss of inventory affecting profits, the trend could make the already tight labor situation even more challenging for Best Buy, Barry said during the third-quarter earnings call earlier on Tuesday.

"You can see that pressure in our financials, and more importantly, frankly, you can see that pressure with our associates," she said. "This is traumatizing for our associates and is unacceptable."

While locations in California, and specifically in San Francisco, have seen higher rates of retail theft, there are problematic areas all across the country, CNBC reported. Nor is Best Buy alone, as companies like Walgreens and Nordstrom grapple with increasingly brazen robberies.

In addition to beefing up its security operations and placing more merchandise under lock and key, Best Buy said it is rolling out new technology that will allow in-store customers to use the mobile app to scan and pay for an item on display and pick it up at the counter.

Front-line retail workers have been quitting the industry in droves, in part because of negative workplace experiences. Last week, a retail workers union asked shoppers to treat store employees with dignity and respect as high demand and supply chain delays cause uneven product availability during the holiday shopping season.

"Retail workers experience heightened stress and pressure this time of year, even in normal times," said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. "Shoppers need to remember what this season is supposed to be all about – kindness."

Are you a retail worker or manager who has experienced coordinated theft at your store? Reach out via a non-work email to dreuter@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting