Home Depot CEO Sounds the Alarm on Retail Theft and Potential Store Closures


Home Depot, like countless other retailers, finds itself in the unfortunate position of having to lock up high-value items to combat the escalating theft plaguing its stores nationwide.

This surge in criminal activity can be attributed, in part, to the lack of law enforcement action under Democrat officials in major cities. As law and order falter, criminals grow bolder, posing a significant challenge to businesses striving to maintain order and security.

Ted Decker, CEO of Home Depot, recently spoke with CNBC’s Becky Quick regarding the pervasive issue of retail theft, also known as “shrink,” and its impact on the home improvement giant.

Quick acknowledged Home Depot’s early warning about the growing crime wave affecting American retailers and inquired about the specific items now requiring security measures.

Decker acknowledged the gravity of the problem, stating, “Shrink is a significant challenge for the retail sector, and it extends beyond our stores. This is no longer just about the occasional shoplifter.” His remarks likely alluded to the involvement of organized criminal gangs who steal merchandise and subsequently resell it on online platforms.

It is worth noting that these thefts disproportionately occur in Democrat-controlled metropolitan areas, where progressive leadership has adopted lenient theft rules that have inadvertently fueled a shoplifting epidemic.

Recognizing the severity of the issue, Home Depot is actively collaborating with state and local officials nationwide to raise awareness about this theft wave. Moreover, Decker expressed his support for a new law that would mandate the vetting of individuals selling items on online consumer marketplaces, thereby curbing the resale of stolen goods.

Decker revealed the unfortunate necessity of securing a wide range of high-value items, noting, “We regret having to take such measures, but we have had to lock up numerous high-value items, including not only power tools and generators but also smaller items like circuit breakers.”

This precautionary step is indicative of the growing threat faced by retailers across the nation.

Quick further questioned Decker about the potential for store closures due to the escalating theft crisis.

While acknowledging that certain retailers in challenging cities have been forced to close their doors, Decker expressed gratitude that Home Depot has not faced such a dire outcome.


He emphasized the company’s growing concern for the safety of its employees and customers, noting that two Home Depot employees had tragically lost their lives while attempting to apprehend thieves.

When asked about the magnitude of the problem, Decker declined to provide specific figures, stating, “We are aware of our losses, but we prefer not to disclose them. However, shrinkage has exerted pressure on our gross margin.”


The enormity of the issue is undeniable, with shrinkage accounting for a staggering $100 billion in losses for US retailers. Bloomberg’s data from 2013 reveals an unprecedented surge in the number of executives mentioning “shrink” during recent earnings calls.

Just weeks ago, David Johnston, the Vice President of Asset Protection and Retail Operations for the National Retail Federation, estimated that retailers are poised to lose $100 billion this year due to theft.

He ominously warned that based on discussions with CEOs and the daily experiences of retailers nationwide, 2023 could witness an even higher loss.

The retail industry, epitomized by Home Depot’s struggle, is battling a crisis fueled by lax law enforcement from left wing prosecutors and a growing disregard for property rights.

The consequences are far-reaching, not only threatening the financial well-being of businesses but also endangering the safety of hardworking employees and loyal customers.