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Nike’s Theft Problem Is So Bad That One Store’s Been Closed for Weeks

Nike’s theft problem keeps getting worse.

Nike’s first factory store, which opened in 1984 on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Portland, has been closed for weeks following a rash of thefts, local outlet KGW reported. The Nike Community store has had its doors shuttered since late October, with no signs of opening anytime soon. The Nike website has shown the store as “closed for the next 7 days” for at least three weeks.

A KGW analysis of citywide crime data found that, since 2019, the Nike Community store had reported 437 shoplifting cases to police. KGW reported that crime has always been an issue at the Community store, given its location, but shoplifting has recently risen to new levels.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association and Buy Safe America Coalition found that as much as $68.9 billion worth of products were stolen from retailers in 2019, pre-COVID.  

“Organized retail crime [ORC] is more than petty shoplifting, and the economic impact has become alarming,” said Michael Hanson, senior executive vice president of public affairs for the Retail Industry Leaders Association. “Professional thieves and organized criminal rings are building a business model by stealing and reselling products, increasingly online thru [sic] marketplace platforms like Amazon or Facebook.”

A recently released National Retail Security Survey by the NRF showed that the total shrink in 2021 reported by retailers is now almost at $100 billion problem. In 2021, respondents saw a 27 percent increase in ORC incidents, and eight in 10 reported a rise in violence and aggression associated with ORC incidents. The pandemic just worsened, with 72 percent of surveyed responders stating that shoplifting has risen.

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Nike-specific theft across the country has become an unsettling trend amid rising “smash-and-grab” robberies.

Thieves in Forth Worth, Texas, stole thousands of dollars of merchandise from a footwear shop earlier this month, though the owner threw thieves for a loop by only keeping one shoe in the display box. In October, a Detroit-area FedEx driver was caught with $96,000 of merchandise he was to deliver to various Foot Locker stores, with Nike shoe boxes making up much of his stockpile. After Memphis looters copped $800,000 worth of Nike clothes and shoes from the company’s rail-adjacent distribution center, StockX had to pause sales of unreleased Air Jordans that may have been taken during the September raid. Over the summer, a Lasership warehouse manager was charged with felony larceny by the employee after stealing Nike sneakers from its Charlotte, N.C. facility.

Partially in response to the growing ORC, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Integrity, Notification, and Fairness in Online Retail Marketplaces (INFORM) Consumers Act. INFORM aims to help to provide additional information to consumers and provide law enforcement with the vital enforcement tools needed to go after high-volume third-party criminal sellers who offload stolen merchandise across e-commerce marketplaces.

“We were pleased to see the House pass the INFORM Consumers Act, an important first step in the effort to keep counterfeits off of popular marketplaces and out of consumers homes,” Steve Lamar, AAFA president and CEO, said. “The United States must lead in efforts to eradicate illicit and counterfeit items that are flourishing. This means the Senate now needs to take up and pass this measure and both chambers need to pass the complementary SHOP SAFE Act. Both measures are needed to keep dangerous products from multiplying online during this holiday shopping season.”

The National Retail Federation, Washington, D.C.-based trade group, also voiced its support for the forward momentum on the crime-targeting bill.

“There is no place for crime targeting retailers in American communities,” senior vice president of government relations David French said in a statement. “Organized retail crime (ORC) is a multibillion-dollar problem where criminal enterprises plan, organize and execute large-scale thefts from retailers to sell illegally obtained goods for financial gain. These brazen crimes are not only dangerous but also impact retailers with significant financial losses and disruptions to business operations.”

Nike did not immediately respond to Sourcing Journal’s request for comment.