Showing posts with label shrink. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shrink. Show all posts

Thursday 13 July 2017

'You couldn't make it up' - Case of man accused of stealing €3 Creme Eggs from Lidl struck out

The theft was alleged to have happened at Lidl on Moore Street, Dublin on March 9.

A Garda prosecution witness having failed to show up, Judge Halpin read the charge sheet before him and said: “Three state witnesses, him, a judge and a solicitor, for a Cadbury’s Creme Egg? You couldn’t make this stuff up.” and dismissed the case.

Whilst a €3 crime seems petty, it is only fair to see this from a retailer's perspective i.e. for a retailer making a net profit of 2%, a theft of €3 is equivalent to a sale of €150...a little more worthwhile in terms of prosecution....?

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Grazing Shrinkers and the Grape-test…

A new study reported in The Retail Bulletin has found that almost £3 billion worth of items are stolen annually through 27% of shoppers 'grazing' in supermarkets, and stealing £4 each per week.

Shoppers ‘grazing’ on grapes as they shop the store, can add up to a significant shrinkage problem for the retailer.  However, the issue can be further complicated by the fact that a shopper may not regard unauthorised snacking as thieving.

This presents an opportunity for the retailer in that as the grazing shopper makes little attempt at concealment, the ‘thief’ can be more easily apprehended.  However, when challenged, shoppers have been known to claim that they deserve a reward for buying, in that a £50 grocery purchase entitles them to a treat or discount.  Besides, active sampling at the Deli counter, specialist shops encouraging tasting, and continuous in-store recipe demonstrations can add to the ambiguity of the issue.

In-store grazing ‘condoned’ by the retailer and left unchecked, can lead to an escalation of the problem.  Regular shoppers, encouraged by fellow grazers and a seemingly tolerant environment, can then graduate from loose grapes to individually wrapped sweets and confectionery, and then move on to bars or countlines.  From these humble beginnings, razor blades and batteries may not seem like a big step.  There are obviously problems with apprehending a grazer in the store, in that in the first place the retailer is accusing an ‘innocent’ thief, who happens to be a regular customer.  Moreover the grazer may be a customer’s child, and young children, especially female, pose problems for male security guards, inside or outside the store.

An added complication is that, in law, a suspected shop-lifter cannot be accused until they have left the store, and then two witnesses are required in order to successfully press charges.  Apart from the fact that much of the evidence is edible, coupled with the inconvenience and potential waste of staff time, the retailer can be reluctant to take the matter as far as the courts.  However, it is essential that the retailer be seen to press charges and prosecute shoplifters.  For instance, a retailer making 2% net profit has to make incremental sales of £250 in order to recover £5 stolen in-store.

In reality, most shoppers probably stop at the grapes stage…but those that graduate to confectionery can pose a problem.  First there is the issue of ownership of the problem in that a grazer moving from grapes to confectionery may cause the retailer to attempt to shift some of the ‘blame’ for this aspect of shrinkage to the supply chain, in effect penalising the supplier for producing a product that is susceptible to above-average shrinkage.

Whilst grape shrinkage will always be regarded as wastage, escalating shrinkage can seriously damage sales of impulse confectionery.  For the consumer, this can mean reduced opportunities to buy resulting from restricted access to the product at point of purchase.  Inaccurate stock-counts can cause reduced availability and challenges to data credibility and insight, which in turn may sour supplier-retailer relationships.  Incidentally, a quick fix via selling on consignment merely shifts the cost i.e. the supplier delivers £100 and invoices £98, reflecting 2% shrinkage as the product passes through the checkout.

Attempting to measure the scale of the problem has to be a first step in order to justify the work involved in overcoming the political barriers that have prevented action in the past.  This means re-examining goods in/out relationships for sensitive categories and attempting to distinguish ‘genuine’ wastage from shrinkage arising from grazing.  Here suppliers and retailers have a vested interest in sharing the measurement burden, in order to ensure that the problem and associated costs remain in the appropriate part of the supply chain.  This objective exposure of the extent of the problem will help to legitimise the steps necessary for its reduction.

In order to begin to deal with grazing-shrinkage, it is important that retailers clarify to staff and shoppers, the distinction between legitimate sampling in-store, and unauthorised piecemeal snacking on the way to the checkout.  Then begins the slow process of re-educating shoppers (and their offspring) to the realisation that taking products without paying is wrong and carries a penalty…

Alternatively, why not encourage them to become shareholders, hoping that they will then see shrinkage of any kind as a reduction in their own profits, and not another form of dividend…

Sunday 22 March 2015

Checkout scam for the 'discount' shopper?

pic: Brian Moore

Checkout operator tapes a barcode for a low-price item (say pack of screen-wipes @ £2.50) and scans it instead of the £30 Box-set in order to oblige a pal in the checkout queue.

Thursday 30 January 2014

Self-checkout rage: Nearly one in five self-checkout shoppers steal goods at the bagging area...

In a survey of 2,664 people by VoucherCodesPro, reported in the Telegraph, one in five admit that self-checkout rage causes them to steal an average of £15 of mainly fruit & veg per month, although toiletries account 26% of items stolen.

The results suggest people steal regularly once they realise they can get away with it – with 57% of the thieves admitting they first took goods because they couldn’t work the machines, and 51% believing they are less likely to be caught.

Given that retailers introduced self-scanning/checkouts to reduce labour costs, it obviously negates the advantage to add a team of one-on-one 'helpers' to the self-checkout area...

One solution might be to try the Costco idea of spot-checks of bags vs. receipts which does not appear to cause offence...? 

Alternatively, why add this new 'route to theft' to 'grape-grazing', aisle-snacking and other methods that regular shoppers use to help retailers maintain high shrinkage levels...?

Thursday 12 December 2013

Belfast Tesco manager’s eye-watering engagement with shopper…

A fisherman grabbed a Tesco manager by the testicles and refused to let go after being stopped over an £800 shoplifting spree, a court has heard.

It was claimed he went into Tesco Newtownbreda Road on 5 December, took security tags off various goods and put them in bags.

Members of the public had to help release his grip as the victim suffered "extreme pain", prosecutors said....

Up to this point it was not clear if the initiative was opportunistic, or simply an extension of the Tesco £1bn ‘turnaround’ plan in terms of “grabbing management by the balls, and their hearts and minds will follow…”

Sunday 15 September 2013

Thieving below the shop-radar

On a recent Saturday morning trip to Debenhams, I was bemused to find a consumer (not shopper) squatting down in the cosmetic department, out of sight of the demonstrators and counter-staff.

She then proceeded to liberally apply almost a 200ml bottle of upmarket skin lotion to the exposed parts of her child and herself, before returning the empty container to the counter, and nodding at the counter staff before departing into the bright sunshine…neither staff nor consumer knowing, and probably not caring, that her ‘sampling’ of a £29 bottle of upmarket body lotion would require incremental sales of £500 to restore Debenhams (Net Margin = 5.8%) to the square one that existed before her visit…  

Friday 9 August 2013

'Ringing the Changes' scam

Given the low interest rates available on bank deposits, some consumers are resorting to the old 'Ringing the Changes' scam as a way of supplementing household budgets.

If there appears to be a little more shopper engagement than usual ahead of you in the checkout queue, the following may help to illustrate the process:

A fraudster buys a small value item and pays normally at the cash desk.  This is not part of the scam as such but makes what follows look more genuine.

The fraudster then asks the cashier if he can change 10 x £1 coins for a £10 note.

The fraudster hands over 8 x £1 coins and receives a ten pound note in exchange.

At this state the cashier realises that there is only 8 coins and informs the person he is 2 x £1 coins short.

The fraudster apologises and then suggests to the cashier he gives her £12  in exchange for a £20 note.

If the cashier agrees the fraudster hands the cashier back her £10 note along with 2 x £1 coins in exchange for a £20 note.  The fraudster then leaves the shop with the twenty pound note leaving the cashier ten pounds short.

The people carrying out the scam appear competent in distracting the cashier with chat and hand movements to temporarily distract and put them off their guard,

NB. Given recent escalation in the amounts involved and the resulting police involvement, we would caution NAMs to resist the temptation to practice their finance-based selling skills via a dummy-run. In fact, best stick to demonstrating the value of trade-funding… 

Thursday 8 March 2012

Better than sell-by dates - Edible RFID tags to monitor your food?

Andrew Sullivan’s blog pointed us at the idea of edible RFIDs. Pasted onto eggs, stamped onto fruit or floating in milk, they can warn you when your fruit is ripe, or when your milk has gone sour.
Scientists at Tufts University have now engineered silk into fully chewable food sensors.
The flexible sensors are made of gold antennae embedded in a purified silk film support. The gold bits are as thin as gold leaf found on some extra-fancy desserts, and can pick up the chemical changes of decomposition or ripening. The silk substrate--made of pure protein--is easily digestible. The whole sensor is flexible, and can curve according to the shape of the fruit.
The working principles behind the sensors are based on existing RFID technology--the difference here is that the sensors aren’t hard electronics, they’re flexible, edible stickers.

Apart from being able to track, monitor and accept/reject individual items throughout the supply-chain, the edibility factor means there is no risk to either health or the freshness-image of the store. Cross-contamination of other food will be eliminated, thus removing one part of the shrinkage issue for retailers, leaving more time to concentrate on reducing the numbers of shoppers who regard food stores as personal larders, a source of free food… 
Creativitywise, the real advantages of edible/flexible RFIDs have to be potential applications in other categories.
Ideas, anyone? 
NB. For starters, how about this Healthcare application?
Last year the team collaborated in publishing a paper in Science magazine showing how flexible electronics in the form of an "electronic skin" could stick to the skin and wirelessly track vital health was it worth reading?

Friday 20 January 2012

Coping with post-Christmas cash shortages…

Coping with post-Christmas cash shortages…
Shoplifting-to-order has emerged as a way of removing  some of the wasteful duplication and inefficiency of ‘grabbing what you can’ allowing more time for the planned-theft and increased pricing stability in the knock-off end of the market. Ranging from choice cuts of meat to full x-box packages, the fenced-offer can be tailored to most market segments and levels of need. It is even possible to access detailed instructions on skill development in all stages of the shoplifting process including preparation, shop-floor behaviour, blind-spots and other lifting techniques, leaving the store safely and even coping with being caught…
Time to drill into your sales-stats and factor shoplifting-to-order into your still buoyant sales in early 2012?
Have a soul-searching weekend, from the NamNews Team! 

Monday 16 January 2012

ATM demand after Christmas?

Thieves have stolen money from a cash machine in Manchester after digging a 100ft tunnel underneath a video rental store in Fallowfield shopping precinct.
Obviously picking up tips from a Colditz DVD from a previous visit to the Blockbusters branch, they installed lighting and roof supports, and were also believed to have drilled tiny holes into the floor of the store through which they poked telescopic cameras to check their progress.
However, at an estimated 6 months dedicated to the project and an estimated £6k cash-haul, any Blockbuster NAM could have told them the potential ROI was not worth the effort...
A lesson for all NAMs attempting the impossible in financial darkness?

Friday 25 November 2011

Supermarket thieves caught when getaway car runs out of fuel

A couple of ‘unsavvy’  shoppers stole £400 of alcohol from an Asda in Manchester, but then had to push their empty Citroen to the supermarket's petrol station, in full view of the CCTV.
Ignoring the logistics difficulties, this appears to be evidence of a significant raising of the shrinkage game, a reflection of the growing financial pressures on consumers..?
As always, Aldi have anticipated this market trend by their introduction of a £300 bottle of whisky, planned for early December, thereby helping thieves to meet their shrinkage targets, without a need to rely upon personal getaway facilities.
However, pricing the bottle at £49 may cause otherwise honest shoppers to regard it as a ‘steal’ anyway….
In which case, have a successful getaway weekend, from the Namnews Team!

Wednesday 18 March 2009

Maintaining shrink-quotas?

Yesterday, walking thru local Hammersmith M&S branch, I saw one of a three adult team strolling out the back door, and helping herself to a bar of red-label chocolate from a doorway-pallet, without missing a beat...
Being the son of a Mom 'n Pop grocer and paranoid about shop-theft, I was tempted to intervene, but began to think...
- Pallet-display could seem like a sampling-offer/reward for shoppers
- Positioning near door reduces risk of misinterpretation, for the occasional shrink-shopper
- Leaving a half-empty bag of sweets on the fixture says the same thing...
- Think constant police warnings about not apprehending criminals...
- Shop-staff have to have a witness to the crime, and apprehend the thief outside the shop, and possibly appear in court on private time..why bother?
- Think male security-guard wrestling female-teen to the pavement, in pursuit of unpaid lipstick, good tabloid-copy? ( NB Namnews is now 1/2 tabloid, and all-electronic...)
- Think instore-grazing-shrink, where the shopper pushing a £70 trolley feels they deserve a 'rebate' from store management..
- Think recession-based need, and a bar of chocolate vs. 'billions/trillions' side-lined by bankers, City and the government, to understand why a new consumer-morality model may be developing...

Thus a surprise that shrinkage is as low as 2%...hopefully it remains that low