CVS CEO Karen Lynch says smash-and-grab robberies fueled by online marketplaces


CVS Health Chief Executive Karen Lynch said Thursday that the drugstore chain is working with attorneys general and pushing Congress to help end a spree of smash-and-grab robberies.

On CNBC’s “Power Lunch,” she said the company has noticed the uptick in organized crime, though it has had a minimal effect on CVS’ bottom line. She said the theft is fueled by online marketplaces, where people can anonymously sell and profit from stolen goods.

“They’re criminals, and it is impacting our stores,” she said. “What they’re doing is they’re taking our products off the shelf and they’re putting them online and we need to go after that.”

Major retailers, including Target, Home Depot and Autozone, have also called on national leaders to fight sales of stolen or counterfeit goods online. A group of them, including CVS, signed a letter of support for legislation that would require verification of third-party sellers on online retail marketplaces.

Other retail chiefs, including Best Buy CEO Corie Barry, have also spoken up about the prevalence of the organized crimes. In a CNBC interview, she said some thieves have bought crowbars or guns to stores as they steal consumer electronics from shelves. She said the crimes could hurt recruitment and retention of employees in an already tight labor market.

Best Buy said it is locking up some merchandise, working with retail trade groups and hiring security guards at some stores. At some of CVS stores, goods are under lock and key and need to be unlocked by an employee.

CVS held its first investor day since the pandemic and since Lynch took the helm. Lynch and other company leaders spoke about how they will turn CVS into a central hub where Americans can go for a wide range of health-care services, from annual checkups to diabetes management.

Shares of CVS touched a 52-week high of $97.66 on Thursday. They are up about 43% this year and were trading up about 5% on Thursday afternoon.

This article was originally published on CNBC