Giant Food to remove health and beauty products from DC stores amid rampant theft

"We want to continue to be able to serve the community."


Due to rampant theft, Giant Food in Washington DC is terminating sales of all national brands from its beauty and health aisles, and will now only carry store brands. It will also require an employee to verify shoppers' receipts before exiting the store. 

In a statement to the Washington Post, Giant's president Ira Kress said, "We want to continue to be able to serve the community, but we can’t do so at the level of significant loss or risk to our associates that we have today." 

Earlier this month, DC News Now reported rumors that Giant was potentially closing its Alabama Avenue location because the issues with theft and violence were "getting worse, not better." Officials said at the time that they had no plans to close the store, but that theft has cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

In May, Kress said the company would take aggressive steps to combat crime, and closing stores was the "last thing" he wanted to do, while he complained of the crime and violence that put a strain on the company's ability to operate. 

"To say [theft has] risen tenfold in the last five years would not be an understatement," Kress said at the time. He noted an increase in violent incidents during the same period. 

"The last thing I want to do is close stores," he added, "but I've got to be able to run them safely and profitably."

Rising retail theft has become an issue across the country which has caused several businesses to take measures to secure merchandise and others to close stores. This month, Dicks Sporting Goods CEO Lauren Hobart blamed "organized retail crime" on its loss in profits. 

She noted that the company had a 3.6 percent rise in sales, but a 23 percent decrease in profits during its second quarter. 

Walmart announced in March it is closing all of its locations in Portland, Oregon, due to rampant shoplifting. A Walgreens in Chicago redesigned its store so that employees now take customers' orders, with only two aisles in the front. Other stores that have closed locations due to retail theft include Whole Foods, AT&T, Nordstrom, REI, and Cracker Barrel. 

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