A spike in retail theft has become a multi-million dollar headache among British retailers, as they scramble to beef up security measures and “love bomb” shoppers with great customer service to deter the growing phenomenon.
Supervising self-checkout counters in such stores can be particularly difficult because customers are responsible for scanning their products, making it easier for thieves to steal items.
Retail giant Marks & Spencer has seen this in its self-service stations, especially among middle-class shoppers, said chain president Archie Norman.
“Some of these shopliftings are done by gangs…and then you get to the middle class,” he said in his speech. Money with David Boick and Michael Wilson Podcast, released Monday.
“With the reduced service you get in a lot of stores, a lot of people think, ‘Well, they don’t scan properly, or it’s too hard to scan these things and I shop here all the time.’ It’s not my fault, I owe it.” You can see this with self-checkouts.
Self-service counters form an important part of M&S’s plans as it aims to cut costs by £400m in five years. The company rolled out hundreds of these tools earlier this year as part of the effort.
While the UK is seeing a significant rise in shoplifting cases, the M&S boss has indicated that it is more than just a problem specific to a particular store or country.
“Nobody fully understands why this is happening, but shoplifting has become a global problem. We’re seeing this rise,” Norman said. “It’s too easy to say it’s a cost-of-living problem.”
Britain has witnessed a rise in the cost of living and food prices in recent years, making it difficult for people to cover their expenses and pushing them to adopt extreme measures to deal with the harsh economic conditions.
Norman’s comments underscore the problem faced by UK retailers as thieves find sophisticated ways to steal from grocery and other retail stores. In a report released earlier this year, the British Retail Consortium, a trade body, estimated that £953 million ($1.2 billion) had been lost to retail theft, despite crime prevention measures worth more than £700 million. By many retailers. A group of 91 retail leaders, including M&S chief executive Stuart Machin, signed a letter to the Home Secretary in September urging swift action to combat rising rates of retail crime.
“We see organized gangs threatening employees with weapons and emptying stores. “We are witnessing acts of violence against colleagues who are doing their job and asking for age verification,” BRC chair Helen Dickinson said in a statement. “No one should go to work fearing for their safety.”
Retailers are cautious
With retail crime on the rise, retailers are doing their part to beef up security measures. For example, British retailer Tesco, which has more than 3,000 stores in the country, has invested £44 million over four years to enhance security around its stores. It has also been given body cameras to its employees to crack down on targeted violations.
The John Lewis Partnership, which runs John Lewis and Waitrose stores, is offering staff anti-shoplifting training with increased security signage and CCTV. The retailer has also begun offering free coffee and discounted food to police officers as a way to deter crime in its stores.
Some retailers have also begun working with law enforcement, called Project Pegasus, by scanning CCTV images of the thefts and using facial recognition software to help identify the perpetrators.
As for M&S, the company has chosen different approaches that include fewer cameras and barriers that risk turning its stores into “prison camps”.
“Our approach is to be open and welcoming,” Norman said at the conference. Money with David Boick and Michael Wilson Podcast. “We have a great security team, and they walk around making sure we keep an eye on what’s for sale and what’s missing.”
He noted that the company is taking more careful measures, such as limiting the items it keeps on its shelves. Norman also pointed out that because M&S offers its own branded products, their resale value is lower among shoplifters, making the retail chain have an advantage when combating shoplifting.
“We do little things like making sure we put the steak in the right place so people can keep an eye on it. We don’t sell a lot of brand-name skincare, that kind of thing,” Norman said. “For us, I’m not too worried.” “
M&S representatives did not immediately return luckRequest for comment.