Shrink, the retail overhang that is frequently mentioned, may finally be diminishing.
Shift, or the theft of goods from retail chains, may be at its “peak” cycle, according to a recent letter to clients from UBS analyst Michael Lasser.
Later this year and into next year, “the impact of shrink will turn from a headwind to a tailwind,” noted Lasser. He continued by saying that this ought to increase the profitability of a number of shops.
For several quarters, shrink has been a problem for businesses including Target (TGT), Walmart (WMT), Dollar General (DG), Dollar Tree (DLTR), and others. Target predicted in the most recent quarter that shrinking would cost it $500 million in profits this year.
Target Chairman and CEO stated in May that “worsening shrink rates are putting significant pressure on our financial results.”
According to UBS, however, history suggests that the more CEOs discuss the shrinking, the closer it is to a peak. According to UBS, discussions of the shrink on earnings calls have reached their greatest levels since before the pandemic, which suggests shrink declines for the remainder of 2023 and into 2024. In turn, the profitability and gross margins at some of the hardest-hit stores would improve if shrink problems decreased.
According to UBS, reducing shrink levels would be advantageous for Target, Walmart, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Home Depot (HD), Ulta (ULTA), and Kroger (KR).
In the end, shrink is a cost (even though it is sometimes a high one), just like occupancy, utilities, and other expenses, according to Lasser. “It is the fiduciary duty of these companies’ managers to increase earnings. In the upcoming quarters, we think they’ll be able to address these problems and save expenditures.