Earnings Results: Retailers are raising the alarm about theft. For this chain, it’s been ‘within our plans’

by | Aug 24, 2023 | Stock Market

Lots of big retailers this summer are talking about theft, and how it’s hurting profit. But when an analyst asked department-store chain Nordstrom Inc.
about the subject on Thursday, following a massive late-afternoon robbery at one of its stores this month in California, executives said levels of theft haven’t been beyond what they expected.

“Certainly what happened at our Topanga store is disturbing to all of us,” Chief Executive Erik Nordstrom said on the retailer’s earnings conference call on Thursday, referring to the robbery, at the Westfield Topanga shopping center northwest of Los Angeles. “The loss is a concern. Losses from theft are at historical highs. We find it unacceptable and it needs to be addressed.” “That being said, while it’s unacceptable, it is within our plans,” he said. “We have not seen continuing rising of shrinkage that has exceeded what we plan. So it’s in line with how we laid out this year.” Within the retail industry, “shrinkage,” or “shrink,” refers to losses of items attributed to theft, fraud or employee error. Different retailers calculate the metric differently. Items like beauty products, power tools, shoes and clothes are often easier targets. Organized retail theft has become a more common subject on the earnings calls of the nation’s biggest retailers. But others say the data on the issue is far more subjective than what bold headlines in the news might indicate. The Los Angeles Police Department estimated that 30 to 50 people participated in the Topanga heist this month, armed with bear spray and taking off in cars without license plates, according to the Los Angeles Times. That store suffered a similar incident in 2021, the Times said. Ex …

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