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Nordstrom Says Losses From Theft at Historic High

The exterior of a Nordstrom store.
Nordstrom says losses from theft are at a historic high. (Shutterstock)

Losses from theft are at a historic high at Nordstrom, the company’s chief executive officer told analysts, making it the latest major US retailer to call out the rise in crime at its stores.

While theft has increased at Nordstrom stores in recent quarters, the losses are still within the company’s annual forecast, CEO Erik Nordstrom said on an earnings call. It’s a sign that retail executives are becoming accustomed to the rise in “shrink,” an industry term that includes shoplifting, employee theft and damaged goods.

Executives, industry organisations and law enforcement agencies say that criminal organisations are increasingly stealing millions of dollars of merchandise, which they then illegally resell.

This week, Dick’s Sporting Goods missed analysts’ estimates largely because of more theft. On Thursday, Ulta Beauty said theft that was one reason its gross margin decreased in the most recent quarter from a year earlier.

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“Our efforts to address shrink are having an impact, but the overall environment remains challenging,” Ulta Chief Financial Officer Scott Settersten told analysts.

By Jeannette Neumann

Learn more:

The Organised Retail Crime Phenomenon, Explained

Reports of large-scale theft rings are driving US lawmakers to explore tough-on-crime policies. Data on whether there is a crime wave paints a more ambiguous picture. BoF unpacks the murky situation.

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