- Rite Aid execs say theft in New York City stores drove $5 million in losses in its most recent quarter alone.
- The company is experimenting with new security and theft prevention strategies.
- Rite Aid’s Chief Revenue Officer Arnaud Persaud said this may mean “literally putting everything” behind lock-and-key.
Rite Aid is struggling against increased theft at its New York City stores that executives say cost the pharmacy chain $5 million in losses during its most recent quarter.
According to Rite Aid CEO Heyward Donigan, the company “experienced unexpected headwinds this quarter from front-end shrink,” specifically citing a rise in incidents at its “New York urban stores.”
In a call with investors Thursday, executives said the company is testing new security efforts to prevent theft in high-crime areas. Arnaud Persaud, Rite Aid’s chief revenue officer, said this may mean vastly increasing the amount of products behind lock-and-key displays.
“We’re looking at literally putting everything behind showcases to ensure the products are there for customers who want to buy it,” Persaud said. “We’ve even had to go to the extent of using off-duty police officers in some of our stores.”
According to data from the New York Police Department, rates of petty theft in the city have increased 42% this year compared to 2021. There was also an uptick in robbery and burglary, at increases of 37% and 32%, respectively.
A Rite Aid located in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood reported $200,000 in stolen merchandise over a two-month period alone and ultimately closed in February, the New York Post reported.
Persaud said the goal is not to resort to closing stores, but rather to improve methods to halt theft in order to continue serving communities.
“I think the headline here is the environment that we operate in, particularly in New York City, is not conducive to reducing shrink just based upon everything you read and see on social media and the news in the city,” he said.
Rite Aid reported total revenue this quarter dropped to $5.9 billion, down from $6.11 billion from the previous quarter, citing factors including declining demand for COVID-19 vaccines and PCR tests, as well as planned store closures.