With theft attempts elevated from prepandemic levels, stores are grappling with how to stop the problem without turning off shoppers and investors. Shoppers are finding more empty space on store shelves, but not because the retailer is out of stock. In many cases, the items are locked away to prevent theft.

These days, it feels like many stores are fortresses. Most of the products on the drug store shelf are behind lock and key, even everyday items such as deodorant, toothpaste, candy, dish detergent, soap and aluminum foil. Manufacturers that supply lock cases and devices to chain stores have seen their businesses boom.

When 29-year-old Jonnai Jones ran out of Aveeno face wash, she headed to the nearby Walgreens in Irvington, New Jersey, to pick some up. The bottle, like many other products, was locked up, forcing her to wait in line and ask an employee at the register to go unlock it and let her buy it.

“The waiting was an inconvenience,” said Jones, who usually tries to remember to reorder products on Amazon before she runs out. “When I do pop in the store in person it’s because I need the item right away.”

SAN DIEGO – Shopper engagement and loss prevention technology company Indyme Solution, LLC is rolling out a device designed to remind shoppers to practice social distancing amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Spencer Hewett of Radar underscored the pivotal role of location data infrastructure in revolutionizing retail operations. Radar’s solution to inventory inaccuracies not only addresses the $1.1 trillion in lost sales but also paves the way for a seamless shopping experience. By integrating precise location tracking with inventory management, Radar offers retailers the ability to maintain accurate stock levels, significantly reducing instances of customer dissatisfaction stemming from unavailable products. This technology, when deployed across apparel retail, has the potential to elevate inventory accuracy from a mere 65-70% to near perfection, showcasing a path toward minimizing sales loss and enhancing customer satisfaction.

Locked cases, security turnstiles, AI-equipped cameras, receipt scanners, off-duty cops, license plate recognition — retailers are piling on anti-theft technologies as shoppers grit their teeth.

Retailers have seen a recent increase in these incidents, and grocers are particularly at risk because of the wide variety of sought-after items they sell.

Grocers have long contended with store theft. But over the past few years they’ve seen an unsettling rise in a new kind of retail crime — one that is often carried out by groups of individuals who are able to get around traditional store security measures.

NEW YORK (AP) — When the pandemic threat eased, Maureen Holohan was eager to scale back her online shopping and return to physical stores so she could more easily compare prices and scour ingredients on beauty and health care products for herself and her three children.

But that experience was short lived. In the past six months or so, CVS, Target and other retailers where Holohan shops have been locking up more everyday items like deodorant and laundry detergent as a way to reduce theft. And the 56-year-old Chevy Chase, Maryland resident is now back to shopping online or visiting stores where she doesn’t have to wait for someone to retrieve products.

The Rise and Fall of the Drugstore Chains

In September, on an earnings call with investors, Rite Aid’s executive vice president of retail, Andre Persaud, floated an idea to improve the chain’s performance in New York City: turn the drugstore into one giant vending machine in order to fight shoplifting. “We’re looking at literally putting everything behind showcases to ensure the products are there for customers to buy,” Persaud said.

Rite Aid Is Ready to Lock Everything Up

In recent months, The Takeout has explored several increasingly stringent tactics retailers are using to prevent theft, each of which make shopping a more punishing experience in their own way. ALDI is trapping basic goods like cheese and meat in lockboxes and outfitting them with the kind of security tags usually reserved for 50″ TVs. Grocery stores are putting sensors on carts so they lock up if you try to leave without going through the checkout lane (even if you didn’t find what you wanted and your cart is therefore empty). And some stores are taking away shopping baskets altogether.