Walgreens 'maybe cried too much' about shoplifting concerns last year, executive says

A Walgreens executive said Thursday that the drugstore chain may have overplayed concerns about shoplifting at its stores in 2022. 

“Maybe we cried too much last year,” Walgreens’ global Chief Financial Officer James Kehoe told investors on an earnings call. Walgreens and other retailers have sounded the alarm in recent years about the threat of organized shoplifting to their bottom lines as viral videos of brazen shoplifting raids have swept the internet. 

Walgreens in 2021 said it shuttered five San Francisco stores, citing disputed claims about an uptick in theft. 

A year ago, Kehoe told investors the company in 2020 and 2021 experienced a 52% increase in shrink – an industry term that refers to lost inventory, either by mismanagement or theft – compared to pre-2020 levels, attributing it to “organized crime.” 


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