Goal, CVS and Walgreens CEOs ask Congress for assist amid retail crime surge


20 major retail brands CEOs, including Target TGT, + 0.29%,
CVS CVS, +1.28% and Walgreens WBA, +0.52%,
jointly wrote a letter to Congress because of concerns about the increase in crime in their businesses.

“As millions of Americans have undoubtedly seen on the news in the past few weeks and months, retail businesses of all kinds have seen a sharp increase in organized crime in communities across the country,” the letter said.

“While we are constantly investing in people, guidelines and innovative technology to prevent theft, criminals take advantage of the anonymity of the internet and the failure of certain marketplaces to vet their sellers,” it said. “This trend has made retail businesses a target for increasing thefts, hurting legitimate businesses forced to compete with unscrupulous sellers, and greatly increasing consumer exposure to unsafe and dangerous counterfeit products.”

Related: CVS is fighting a $ 45 billion crime

The aim of the letter, addressed to both majority and minority leaders in the House and Senate, is to consider passing the Law on Integrity, Notification and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplace (INFORM). The law aims to increase transparency for online retail marketplaces, slow down online sales of counterfeit goods, and improve verification protocols for buyers.

“Leading retailers are concerned about the growing impact of organized retail crime on the communities we proudly serve. For this reason, we strongly support the bipartisan and bicameral law on integrity, notification and fairness in online retail marketplaces (INFORM) for consumers, ”the letter continues. “This important piece of legislation will modernize our consumer protection laws to protect families and communities from selling illegal products, and we want it to be passed quickly.”

Versions of this law have been tabled several times in recent years by members of both chambers of congress.

It appears that the INFORM Consumers Act has at least some bipartisan support, as the bill was co-tabled by US Senators from both parties when Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced it in March 2021.

And 69.4% of retailers say they’ve seen a surge in retail-related crime in the past year, according to the 2021 Retail Security Survey data. Companies surveyed cited problems related to COVID-19, policing, Changes in judgment and the tremendous growth of online marketplaces.

Last month, groups of thieves ransacked high-end stores like Louis Vuitton MC, -0.70%,
Burberry BURBY, + 0.21% and Bloomingdale’s M, -0.26% in San Francisco. In June, video of a Walgreens shoplifter filling a trash bag with stolen goods and then pedaling a bike out of the store went viral. Retailers spend millions each year fighting organized crime rings that steal from their stores in bulk and then sell the goods online, often on Amazon AMZN, -1.53%.

Here is a list of the CEOs who wrote the letter to Congress and the companies they represent:

Ken Hicks, Academy Sport + Outdoor

Lauren Hobart, DICK’S Sporting Goods Inc. DKS, + 0.61%

Richard Johnson, Foot Locker Inc. FL, -1.43%

Rodney McMullen, The Kroger Co. KR, + 1.92%

Richard Keyes, Meijer Inc.

Erik Nordstrom, Nordstrom Inc. JWN, -0.52%

Heyward Donigan, Rite Aid Corporation RAD, + 0.31%

Brian C. Cornell, Target Corporation

Steve Rendle, VF Corporation VFC, + 0.36%

William Rhodes, AutoZone, Inc. AZO, +1.66%

Neela Montgomery, CVS Health

Todd J. Vasos, GD Dollar General Corporation, + 0.20%

Craig Menear, The Home Depot Inc. HD, + 0.65%

Chip Bergh, Levi Strauss & Co. LEVI, -0.20%

Geoffroy van Raemdonck, Neiman Marcus, Inc.

Ron Coughlin, Petco Animal Supplies Inc. WOOF, -0.79%

Anthony T. Hucker, Grocer in the Southeast

David Kimbell, Ulta Beauty Inc.ULTA, -0.20%

John Standley, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.

Corie Barry, Best Buy Co. Inc. BBY, -0.78%

Brian Dodge, Association of Industry Leaders in Retail

John Standley, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.

Brian Dodge, Association of Industry Leaders in Retail

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