Rite Aid denies claims that NYC store closures leading to job loss amid high-profile NYC robberies

Fox News’ Eric Shawn records brazen shoplifting in Manhattan store

A man walks out of a New York City drugstore with a bag full of stolen goods in broad daylight.

A spate of high-profile robberies at New York City Rite Aid locations has highlighted store closures in the area, but the pharmacy and retail giant is pushing back against the notion that its workers are being left without jobs – or that its shops are shuttering only as a result of organized retail theft. 

Stocks in this Article

Videos and local reports that have circulated in recent days highlighted brazen shoplifting in at least two Rite Aid stores in Manhattan – in the Hell’s Kitchen and Upper East Side neighborhoods. Both stores are scheduled to close in early-to-mid February, a Rite Aid spokesperson confirmed to FOX Business. 

The spokesperson told FOX Business on Monday that the stores are closing "for a number of reasons" based on months-long reviews that are carried out "across the full footprint of 2,500 stores." Sixty-three stores nationwide, roughly 2% of the total number of Rite Aid locations, will be closing as a result of this months-long review, which the company announced in December, the spokesperson said. 

SPIKE IN NYC HIGH-PROFILE ROBBERIES, SHOPLIFTING PROMPTS DA BRAGG TO MEET WITH SMALL BUSINESSES

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 26: A gate is used to lock items at a pharmacy and convenience store on October 26, 2021, in New York City.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images / Getty Images)

The spokesperson said the decisions "are never for one reason, but a variety of factors that retail businesses much consider, such as overarching business strategy, lease and rent considerations, store performance, and much more."

Actor and comedian Michael Rapaport has said he was at his neighborhood Rite Aid store in the Upper East Side earlier this month when he watched as a man loaded two bags full of allegedly stolen goods. Rapaport further captured footage that showed the alleged thief passing a store security guard as he waltzed out the front doors holding the bags of loot.

MICHAEL RAPAPORT RETURNS TO NYC RITE AID WHERE HE FILMED ALLEGED SHOPLIFTER

"This f—— guy just filled his two bags up with everything in Rite Aid, right here on 80th [Street] and First Avenue is walking down the street like s— is Gucci," Rapaport said in an Instagram post, according to the New York Post. "I was watching him the whole time." 

Surge in shoplifting leading to store closures

Former NYPD detective Oscar Odom explains on ‘The Evening Edit’ why a surge of shoplifting is happening around the nation.

Soon after, a New York Post reporter spotted a similarly brazen shoplifting incident at a Hell’s Kitchen location, where "store sources" told the outlet people have stolen over $200,000 in store goods over the past couple of months. 

The Rite Aid spokesperson told FOX Business that the Hell’s Kitchen store will close permanently on Feb. 8, while the Upper East Side location will shutter on Feb. 15. 

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

But reports that the store employees are being left without other job options are wrong, the spokesperson said.  

"Every associate has been offered job opportunities and transfers within Rite Aid," the spokesperson said. Pointing to reports and claims of job loss, the spokesperson added: "There is no job loss tied to these decisions; rather, associates have been offered and are taking roles at other Rite Aid’s in the area."

Uptick in shoplifting causing California businesses to close early

California Retailers Association president Rachel Michelin on the increase in shoplifting at retail businesses.

The spokesperson would not comment when asked what other New York City locations would be closing. 

The New York Police Department's citywide statistics show that petit larceny – or the theft of property valued up to $1,000 – has increased by 14.5%, or from 4,948 to 5,663, year to date in 2022 compared to 2021. 

Fox News reporter Eric Shawn was inside a different big-name store in Manhattan when he saw a man "grabbing everything that he could," loading it into a bag, and walking out, Shawn said. 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

"When I went back to report this guy to the store clerks, they told me, ‘Well, this happens all the time,’" Shawn said. He added that the clerks said they’ve been told not to intervene in case the shoplifters "turn violent." 

Incidents of retail theft are not unique to New York City. San Francisco made headlines last year after video circulated showing a man riding a bike through a Walgreens store hauling apparently stolen goods. 

Source: Read Full Article