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San Francisco's Union Square. Photo: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images

As the holiday season gets underway, groups of thieves have undertaken brazen shoplifting exploits at stores across the U.S.

Why it matters: Organized retail crime costs retailers on average $700,000 per $1 billion in sales annually, per estimates from the National Retail Federation, and companies are blaming store closures and profit dips on the shoplifting scourge.

State of play: On Monday, a group of 20 thieves used a sledgehammer and an e-bike to smash into and steal from the Nordstrom in The Grove, a luxury mall in Los Angeles.

  • On Friday evening, a group of thieves ransacked several stores in San Francisco's Union Square shopping district, breaking into luxury stores, including Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Bloomingdales, AP reported.
  • On Saturday night, about 80 people looted and assaulted employees at a Nordstrom in Walnut Creek, a town about 25 miles northeast of San Francisco, per CBS SF Bay Area.

Organized shoplifting exploits also hit other parts of Northern California this weekend, including Hayward and San Jose, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

  • More than a dozen thieves looted a Louis Vuitton store in Chicago last week, stealing more than $100,000 worth of merchandise, per CNN.
  • Last month, Walgreens announced it was closing five San Francisco stores due to a rise in "organized retail crime," the New York Times reported.

Best Buy on Tuesday blamed organized theft as a reason behind a decline in gross profit margin in Q3. The news hit the company's stock price.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom has vowed to increase security measures to counter the rise in theft, per a press release from the governor's office.

What they're saying: "This is traumatizing for our associates and is unacceptable," Best Buy CEO Corie Barry said of the rise of organized crime on a call with analysts Tuesday, per CNN.

  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the spate of recent robberies on Monday, Monday, saying he has "no sympathy" for "people smashing and grabbing ... creating havoc and terror in our streets."

Go deeper: Companies deploy tech to prevent retail crime

Go deeper

Retailers see upside to slower Cyber Monday

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

We found out today that this year’s biggest online shopping day was smaller than last year’s — and that’s OK. 

Why it matters: The pandemic pushed more people to shop more online more often, prompting companies to spread deals out throughout the year to attract those dollars. 

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Myanmar's deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi sentenced to 4 years in prison

An anti-coup protest in Yangon, Myanmar.Photo: Hkun Lat/Getty Images

A Myanmar court sentenced the country's ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Monday to four years in prison on charges of "inciting public unrest" and breaking COVID-19 protocols, per the New York Times.

Why it matters: It's the first of several verdicts that could result in the 76-year-old Nobel laureate being imprisoned for the rest of her life. The 11 charges she faces have been widely criticised as politically motivated.

5 hours ago - World

Pope Francis denounces European governments' migrant response

Pope Francis adresses refugees at the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos on Sunday. Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Pope Francis criticized European countries' response to migrants and asylum seekers during his visit to a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos Sunday.

Why it matters: The pope said "migration is a humanitarian crisis that concerns everyone," but little had changed in the global response to displaced peoples since his first visit to Lesbos five years ago, per a transcript of his remarks. "Human lives, real people, are at stake. ... let us stop this shipwreck of civilization!"