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Rite Aid Considers Locking Up “Literally Everything”

The retailer is looking for answers to the theft problem plaguing its NYC locations

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Credit: Laser1987, iStock

Shrink is swelling at Rite Aid’s (Scranton, Pa.) New York City stores, giving executives a headache as they grasp for a solution.

The drug store chain recently reported a $5 million year-over-year increase in shrink, with its New York urban doors singled out as the locations getting hit the hardest by theft.

“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,” Andre Persaud, Rite Aid’s EVP and Chief Retail Officer, told analysts in an earnings call.

Potential remedies, Persaud explained, include “literally putting everything behind showcases” as well as using off-duty police officers in some stores.

CEO Heyward Donigan also noted that Rite Aid has begun “shrinking our footprint” in New York as part of a broader plan to boost profitability across the fleet.

A Rite Aid closure in Manhattan garnered national attention early this year when one of the store’s employees told The New York Post that thieves “come in every day, sometimes twice a day, with laundry bags and just load up on stuff.” Staffers said more than $200,000 in merchandise was stolen in just two months’ time.

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Rite Aid has more than 2300 locations in 17 states. It operates about 70 stores in New York City.

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