Retailers Are Increasing Store Security Amid Civil Unrest
U.S. retailers are increasing armed security guard patrols and transferring merchandise to more secure locations, The Los Angeles Times reported. Over the past week, shopping districts in cities all over the country have been targeted by groups of looters during protests against the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, while in police custody.
Businesses that were just beginning to reopen after closing due to the coronavirus pandemic have had to pull shutters back down again after looters broke into storefronts and stole merchandise. Some stores were damaged so badly in the riots that they will need to be rebuilt.
In response to the looting, many retail chains, including CVS and Adidas, have closed stores until further notice. According to The Los Angeles Times, some retailers are hiring more security services, including ex-military personnel and police as guards. Some of the security officers will carry weapons. More companies are shifting stock — especially high-value items — away from store locations that are most vulnerable.
Total Retail's Take: Normally, the costs of having to shut down stores, hire more security and divert merchandise would be a hard pill for the retail industry to swallow, but it would at least be doable. However, the industry is still reeling from weeks of forced store closures as an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, leaving many retail businesses on the brink. In fact, many companies have already had to file for bankruptcy to stand any chance of surviving in the current climate. It's unclear when retailers will feel it's safe to reopen stores again as we go on the seventh day of protests. As crippling it is for retailers, it's important to keep in mind that merchandise and stores can be replaced, but a life can not.
Ashley Chiaradio is the Senior Content Strategist at Total Retail. Ashley has been creating content for more than 7 years, and provides a unique insight in covering the retail industry having worked directly for retailers in the past. She’s passionate about profiling women leadership in the space.