Wal-Mart Stores has a new priority: reducing theft.
Greg Foran, head of the retailer's U.S. operations, told a media briefing on Thursday he added theft and other forms of "unknown shrinkage" to a list of urgent items to be tackled at Wal-Mart's 4,555 stores across the United States.
Foran said he saw an opportunity to boost margins by putting a dent in a problem that typically represents 1 percent for any retailer's sales. He noted that Wal-Mart generated nearly $300 billion in revenues in the United States in the past fiscal year.
"One percent of $300 billion is quite a lot of money. If you can save 10 basis points of it - boy I'll take it every day of the week and put it into lower prices for customers," Foran told Reuters after the briefing.
One basis point is equal to one hundredth of 1 percent, meaning that 10 basis points—or 0.1 percent—of $300 billion would be equal to $30 million.