Self-scan supermarket check-outs are helping shoplifters

Photo: Depositphotos

Supermarket clients stole goods worth some €70 million last year, or an average of €66,300 per store, according to calculations by retail advice group Marshoek.

That is up €20,000 or almost one third on 2021, when inflation was 3%, Marshoek said. The report is based on research involving 306 supermarkets

One of the reasons for the increase is the rise of the self-scan checkout, which makes shoplifting easier, experts told the advisory group. High inflation is also having an impact.

There are signals that supermarkets are now scaling back their plans to expand the use of self-scan checkouts. “We are hearing that supermarkets are putting the roll-out of self-scan checkouts on hold, partly because of the increase in theft,” the report said.

“Algorithms can help with selection, but spotting deviant behaviour remains work for humans, both at the traditional and self-scan checkouts.”

Shoplifting increased by 25% last year following the end of lockdown to reach its highest level for eight years, according to police incident records.

Police recorded 40,000 incidents of shoplifting in 2022, the most since 2015.

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