FACT CHECK: Is Walmart At Risk Of Closing Due To A Rise In Retail Thefts?

Joseph Casieri | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook purports Walmart CEO Doug McMillon announced Walmart would be forced to close if theft rates continue.

Verdict: Misleading

McMillon did not say the whole company was in danger of closing, but rather surging retail thefts could lead to specific store closures.

Fact Check:

Due to the rising inflation many families are expected to be spending less as Christmas approaches, CNN reported. Losses associated with retail theft have risen to $94.5 billion in 2021, up from $90.8 billion in 2020, according to Yahoo finance.

The post purports that Walmart may close soon due to high rates of theft. The post does not give any information on where or when this was said, but features a “Raphouse TV” logo.

“Walmart CEO warns company will close if theft doesn’t slow down,” the post reads. “Walmart loses roughly $3 Billion in theft every year.” The post got the attention of many, including celebrity Amber Rose. (RELATED: Did Elon Musk Publish This Tweet Saying He Would Be Deleting Twitter?)

The claim is out of context. In an interview on CNBC, McMillon spoke on the issues of theft saying, “theft is an issue, it’s higher than what it has historically been.”

McMillon commented broadly on the prosecutions of these crimes saying, “if this is not corrected, over time prices will go higher and/or stores will close.” McMillon was specifically referring to locations that have lax procedures to deal with shoplifting. There is no credible news report that suggests Walmart itself is at risk of closing the entire company over retail theft losses.

The company has seen a rise in theft along with the rest of the retail industry. Some employees and customers have blamed the implementation of new self-checkout devices at stores for the increase, according to Business Insider.

This is not the first time false misinformation has spread on social media. Check Your Fact previously debunked a claim from September 2020 alleging that the state of Hawaii purchased 30 suicide-assistance pods.

Joseph Casieri

Fact Check Reporter