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Giant Grocery Chain Fighting To Keep Stores Open As Theft, Violence Has Increased Exponentially

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A grocery chain in the United States is struggling to keep its stores open, despite an increase in violent crime and rampant shoplifting. Many retailers are forced to close their stores due to this violence.

According to a Washington Post report, Giant Food, a supermarket chain that operates 165 stores in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware, took steps to prevent theft and ensure the safety of its stores. These steps include hiring security guards and restricting the amount of items available at self-checkout stations. They also place fewer expensive items on shelves, limit store entrances, and secure razor blades inside containers that emit noise when opened.

Ira Kress, the company president, said that he has seen violence and theft increase “exponentially” in the past five years.

He hopes that these measures will keep the stores open even if it inconveniences shoppers.

He told the outlet that “the alternative is worse for our customers.” The last thing I would want to do is shut down stores. But I have to be able run them profitably and safely.

Due to an increase in shoplifting, and safety concerns, several large retailers such as Walgreens and Whole Foods had to close their stores.

Some companies have changed their policies due to the fear of violent shoplifters.

Kress said that “we used to chase shoplifters” and you would get the product returned, but nobody would fight you. He told The Post that he didn’t have to worry about someone pulling a gun or a knife on him 40 years ago.

Former employees of the now-closed Whole Foods store in downtown San Francisco said that the company had also taken steps to prevent shoplifting. They included moving expensive items to the back.

The well-known supermarket chain temporarily closed the flagship store because of safety concerns. More than 500 calls for help were made to the store by employees who were regularly threatened by vagrants.

Experts in the consumer and retail industry said that businesses would continue to leave cities because it is difficult to make a profit when organized crime and theft are at an all-time peak.

In a report by the Post, Lakshman Lakshmanan said, “We are seeing the highest ever level of organized theft and crime in retail.”

The former Whole Foods employee claimed that thefts occurred “daily”. Employees were prohibited from confronting shoplifters or trying to stop them.

Some retailers also have policies similar to this one, due to the fear that an employee could be injured or killed during an altercation between a shoplifter and an employee.

Two Lululemon workers in Atlanta were fired after they recorded shoplifters stealing products with brazen abandon.

Lakshmanan says that keeping stores open is even more difficult in this inflationary era, because retailers are forced to increase rents, wages, and operations to remain afloat.

Giant’s President said that it is embarrassing when politicians criticize retailers for closing stores due to these challenges.

Kress stated in the report that it was “laughable” for our politicians to not be aware of what is happening in their communities, their jurisdictions and with their constituents. “It’s embarrassing for politicians to blame business… for leaving.”

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