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• The Chicago Tribune reports this morning that Wal-Mart is experiencing a rash of product thefts, perpetrated both by shoppers and employees, that is expected to hit more than $3 billion this year.

“The world's largest retailer is saying little about these kinds of thefts, but its recent public disclosures that it is experiencing an increase in so-called shrinkage at its U.S. stores suggests that inventory losses due to shoplifting, employee theft, paperwork errors and supplier fraud could be worsening,” the Tribune writes. Retail consultant Burt Flickinger III tells the paper that “the increase in theft may be tied to Wal-Mart's highly publicized decision last year to no longer prosecute minor cases of shoplifting in order to focus on organized shoplifting rings. Former employees also say staffing levels, including security personnel, have been reduced, making it easier for theft to occur. And a union-backed group critical of the retailer's personnel policies contends general worker discontent is playing a role.”
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