Dollar General Announces Plan to Fight Back Against Shoplifters, ‘Company’s Biggest Challenge’

Dollar General is taking serious action to address the growing problem of shoplifting, which CEO Todd Vasos has called the company’s biggest challenge, according to a new report from Fox Business.

The discount retailer is rolling out a wide-ranging plan to reduce theft, including removing frequently stolen items from shelves and getting rid of self-checkout in thousands more stores.

During a recent earnings call, Vasos stressed the company’s determination to deal with “shrink,” a term used in the retail industry to describe lost or stolen goods.

“We are deploying an end-to-end approach to shrink reduction across the organization, including efforts in our supply chain, merchandising, and within our stores,” he said, making it clear that Dollar General is tackling the issue from every angle.

As part of its anti-theft plan, Dollar General has already switched 3,000 more stores from self-checkout to staffed checkouts in May, bringing the total number of converted locations to 12,000 since the start of the fiscal year.

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This follows the company’s announcement in March that it would remove self-checkout registers from 300 stores hit hardest by theft in the first half of the year.

To further improve security and customer service, the retailer has also changed self-checkout registers to assisted-checkout in about 9,000 stores.

While Vasos acknowledged that these changes are a big shift for the company, he believes it’s the right move to boost customer engagement and reduce theft in the long run. “We believe this is the right course of action to drive increased customer engagement while also better positioning us to begin reducing shrink in the back half of ’24 with a more material positive impact expected in 2025,” he said.

Dollar General is also taking steps to fight theft in its supply chain and merchandising.

Teams are working hard to make sure deliveries arrive on time and keep inventory levels in check, while merchants are removing “high shrink” items—those most likely to be stolen—from store shelves.

The financial toll of shoplifting was clear in Dollar General’s most recent quarterly results.

For the three months ending March 31, gross profit as a percentage of sales dropped by 145 basis points to 30.2%, largely due to increased shrink, markdowns, a focus on consumable goods, and lower inventory markups.

As Dollar General pushes forward with its multi-part plan to fight retail theft, the company remains committed to creating a safer shopping experience for customers while protecting its bottom line.

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Although the full effects of these measures may not be seen right away, the retailer believes its strategy will pay off in the long run, helping the company stay strong in the highly competitive discount retail market.