business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  The Boston Globe has a piece about retailers that are keeping more products under lock and key as they try to deal with a shoplifting epidemic.

"If this sounds like a nightmare scenario for brick-and-mortar stores — already battered by the pandemic and e-commerce competition — you’d be right. Customers may hate seeing their shopping list behind lock and key, but retailers hate it even more … With shoplifting reportedly on the rise, many retailers face a lose-lose scenario: Leave merchandise unobstructed, and risk it being swiped, or lock it up, and risk deterring paying customers."

According to the story, "The latter seems to be winning out: Nearly half of retailers said their 2022 budgets for loss prevention technology were higher than 2021, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation released in September … Some companies are pondering even more extreme measures: In late September, the chief retail officer at Rite Aid told investors that the chain is 'looking at literally putting everything behind showcases' in its New York City stores to deter rampant theft."

The Globe writes that "loss prevention experts largely blame what’s known as organized retail crime — sophisticated crime rings that shoplift in bulk and re-sell stolen merchandise, often in online marketplaces like eBay or Facebook … The anonymity of the online marketplaces where they re-sell the merchandise," which makes it "a fairly low-risk, high-reward pursuit, and theft rings sometimes make millions."

•  Kroger employees represented by the Teamsters have overwhelmingly ratified a new five-year contract that covers more than 1,500 Kroger truck drivers and warehouse workers nationwide and "provides significant improvements to wages, benefits, and working conditions.

The Teamsters said that "for the first time, the national negotiating committee included rank-and-file members who work in the industry. Those members played an instrumental role in the bargaining process, attending negotiation sessions and providing feedback."

The union said that "all five local supplemental agreements were also ratified, successfully addressing members’ top priorities. The locals which are party to the contract are Local 667, Teamsters Local 135 in Indianapolis, Teamsters Local 337 in Detroit, Teamsters Local 988 in Houston, and Teamsters Local 795 in Wichita, Kan."