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Retailers have had enough

Retailers in California have been struggling to cope with the recent surge in criminal activity — which is seriously stinging their bottom lines.

As a result, some stores have resorted to securing certain items with padlocks and chains, or they’re locking up high-theft items behind plastic casings, while others are upping their security, resulting in a major inconvenience to honest shoppers and workers alike.

But for many retail giants, enough is enough. Several of them have closed up shop and left theft-prone areas in recent months.

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An industry-wide problem

The issues plaguing California aren’t isolated to the Golden State. According to a study from the National Retail Federation (NRF), organized retail crime is growing in both scope and complexity across the U.S.

Many cities have seen retail store closures in recent months — with rampant crime being just one of the major factors in this.

In addition to theft concerns, retailers across the U.S. are also struggling to regain the same levels of foot traffic that they enjoyed pre-pandemic — partly due to rising costs and the sustained popularity of remote work, which has reduced footfall in downtown shopping areas.

Correction, Dec. 12, 2023: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the NRF estimated “theft” was costing the retail industry $100 billion. In fact, it estimated that “shrink” was costing the industry $100 billion. Shrink refers to loss of inventory and can include, but is not limited to, theft.

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About the Author

Bethan Moorcraft

Bethan Moorcraft


Bethan Moorcraft is a reporter for Moneywise with experience in news editing and business reporting across international markets.

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