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August 12, 2019 Sunnyvale / CA / USA - People shopping at Home Depot in South San Francisco bay area

Home Depot Speaks Out On Opioid Crisis

We have mentioned many times before how the opioid crisis has a national ripple effect, which spreads far beyond the people using. Data has shown that the American economy has taken a hit too, with workforce addiction issues and reduced spending. Now retail giant Home Depot has echoed that fact as well, with a statement from the company’s Chief Executive Officer.

CEO Craig Menear did speak out about the damage that opioid addictions have caused his company, but not in a way that people would think. His focal point was in-store thefts and the concept that dependent Americans are confiscating items and ultimately hurting his business.

“This is happening everywhere in retail,” Menear said. “We think this ties to the opioid crisis, but we’re not positive about that.”

Data definitely shows that thievery has taken a toll on Home Depot’s profits. In fact, the National Retail Federation called out that businesses lose as much as $51 billion annually from “organized retail crime activity.”

But can the increase in thefts be tied back to the opioid crisis? Menear has conducted research to prove that point. One call out that was shared in a Bloomberg business article cited $1.4 million in stolen Home Depot goods that was recovered from thieves in Rochester, New York. This group also had ties to substances and organized crime.

National Retail Federation rep Bob Moraca was also interviewed for the piece and called out how addictions make these types of thieves much more brazen.

“Organized retail crime continues to present a serious challenge to the retail industry,” Moraca explained. “Most retailers have security systems in place in their stores, but the addictive nature of opioids, coupled with easier ways to hawk the stolen goods online, have apparently made criminals bolder.”

Bloomberg also discussed just how much of a hit Home Depot has experienced over the past year. Profit margins for the company have narrowed down to about 14 percent and shares sunk significantly over the recent holiday season.

In our opinion, it is a little misleading to classify retail thievery with addiction. Yes, certain statistics point to a rise of crime amongst those caught up in a dependency. But it is not always case and those who do cross that line often do it out of desperation.

While we’re glad that the opioid crisis is receiving increased attention because of Menear’s statement, we would have hoped he’d present concrete data (and compassion) to back it up.