Best Buy combating theft with higher staffing levels in stores

When it comes to staving off shoplifting, there is power in numbers, Best Buy CEO says

A surge in retail theft across the U.S. over the past few years has led many businesses to take drastic measures to curb shoplifting in stores, but Best Buy has had success in minimizing shrink with a simple solution: More manpower.

Best Buy CEO Corrie Barry acknowledged the nationwide problem in a call with reporters last week, but said the electronics retailer has not experienced the significant loss competitors have thanks to its strategy of higher staffing levels, security, and full-service check-outs.

Best Buy location NYC

Best Buy says its strategy of higher staffing levels is keeping shoplifting at bay. (Reuters/Andrew Kelly / Reuters)

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BBY BEST BUY CO. INC. 76.15 +0.15 +0.20%

"In certain parts of the country in particular, there is a real issue around theft and organized crime," Barry said, according to CNN. "With that being said… we have not called out material impacts to our business as a result of shrink for at least the last two years.

"We tend to have more labor coverage in our stores because that interaction is a big part of our model," Barry explained. 

"Whenever you walk in, hopefully you’re going to see a friendly face in a yellow shirt who has access to cameras all over the store," she said, adding, "We usually just have once entrances to our stores, so not multiple entrances to cover. We don’t really have self-checkout."

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The nation's largest retailers have been sounding the alarm over the rise in brazen retail theft, with Walmart, Target and others warning earlier this year that the situation is only getting worse.

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TGT TARGET CORP. 168.28 +1.74 +1.04%

In 2022, total shrink — the loss of inventory due to circumstances such as retail theft — cost retailers nearly $100 billion, David Johnston, vice president of asset protection and retail operations for the National Retail Federation (NRF), told FOX Business

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"Based on what we're hearing already from many of these CEOs and based on what we're experiencing daily in retailers across the nation… I do foresee us to have a much higher loss in 2023," Johnston said. 

But with more retailers facing staffing shortages and embracing self-checkouts while operating on lean crews, Best Buy's opposite approach may have merit.

Best Buy workers helping customer

Workers load a television onto a truck at a Best Buy store on Black Friday in Union City, California, US, on Friday, Nov. 24, 2023.  (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Best Buy Co, Inc.

Lowe's has also touted higher staffing levels in stores as the way it keeps shoplifting at bay.

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LOW LOWE'S COMPANIES INC. 230.24 +1.45 +0.63%

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"Having spent my entire adult life in retail at every level, the one thing that I understand clearly is that the greatest deterrent for any type of theft activity is effective customer service," Lowe's CEO Marvin Ellison said in September, according to Business Insider.

FOX Business' Daniella Genovese contributed to this report.