San Francisco retail theft data questions validity of Walgreens closures
Data released by the San Francisco Police Department, collected by the San Francisco Chronicle, has caused officials to question Walgreens’ explanation for closing five stores in the Bay Area.
Walgreens announced on Tuesday that the company will be closing five stores in the Bay Area due to rampant retail theft. However, police data shows that one of the stores set to close has only reported seven shoplifting incidents in 2021.
The five stores also have fewer than two recorded shoplifting incidents per month on average since 2018, a stark contrast from the picture painted by the pharmacy chain.
People are now wondering if Walgreens was using the narrative of retail theft to hide other potential factors in its decision to close the stores.
"They are saying (shoplifting is) the primary reason, but I also think when a place is not generating revenue, and when they're saturated — S.F. has a lot of Walgreens locations all over the city — so I do think that there are other factors that come into play," Mayor London Breed said last week, the paper reported.
The pharmacy giant also expanded its store closure program this week, announcing that they are planning to close 150 stores and increase their annual savings target to $3.3 billion. The timing of the retail theft announcement paired with this announcement has left some wary.
Bay Area residents are now taking to Twitter to express their opinions on the matter, creating a massive debate regarding retail theft and the truth of the Walgreens closures.