A popular Mid-Atlantic shopping chain will be removing a number of items from shelves to combat increasing retail theft. The issues facing Giant Food are not unique to its stores or the region, but part of a widening issue of organized theft at a large number of retail locations.
Giant Food announced last week that it would pull the health and home care items, including laundry detergent, toothpaste and aspirin from public access at one Washington D.C. location.
In addition, the move by the grocery chain is not the first time that it has had to adjust to a sharp increase in crime since 2020.
According to the company’s senior vice president of operations Diane Hicks, it had “no other choice.”
Organized retail theft has not only cut into the profit margins of big brands — it's seriously affecting the experience of shopping and the broader community in a number of indirect ways.https://t.co/HJEDeH5pdB
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) September 3, 2023
Hicks added that other stores in the region had been placing their items behind locks or from shelves.
“I’ve been leaving it out for our customers and unfortunately it just forces all the crime to come to us,” she said.
Giant Foods will also check customers’ receipts as they leave.
Company president Ira Kress said that the chain had already “invested a significant amount of money here, even more security here than any other store.”
The company operates more than 150 locations in D.C., Maryland, Virginia and Delaware.
The company had recently revealed an approximately ten-fold increase in theft in recent years.
In particular, California has seen a sharp increase in retail theft. Many conservatives argue that a large factor for the increase was a change that made theft of under $950 a misdemeanor rather than a felony.
The state’s legislature is currently debating a bill that may make it more difficult for store owners and managers to confront shoplifters.
Senate Bill 553 has already passed the California State Senate. The bill would mandate training for employees about how to handle shoplifting suspects, which critics believe would make it effectively illegal to confront them.