Giant Food is removing many national brand health and beauty care products from its shelves at a store in Washington, D.C., and replacing them with private label items in an effort to deter theft, the company said.
“The retail theft that we are experiencing across our market area is a problem that affects all of us, limiting product availability, creating a less convenient shopping experience, and, most critically, placing our associates and customers in harm’s way,” the company said in a statement. “We need to be able to run our stores safely and profitably, and we take these responsibilities seriously.”
In addition to the planned product assortment changes, the Alabama Avenue store has also initiated a receipt review policy. The efforts seek to “mitigate the unprecedented levels of product theft that has become unsustainable for our business,” said Giant, which is a division of Ahold Delhaize.
“None of the tactics we deploy is the ultimate solution to the problem we face, but we continue to invest in efforts that will improve safety for our associates and customers and reduce theft,” the company said.
Giant said it would station trained asset protection employees at store entrances to greet customers as they arrive and check receipts as they exit.
“We know these changes are disruptive for everyone, and we would prefer to avoid putting these measures in place,” the company said. “Unfortunately, we are in a position where these steps are necessary. Like many retailers who also check receipts, we hope our customers will find it a quick and easy step that helps us improve store safety for our associates and customers and minimize theft.”
According to local reports, the store has been unprofitable and is taking these actions in an effort to keep it open to serve the community, which lacks any other full-service supermarkets.
Giant Food, which has 165 stores in the Mid-Atlantic region, had previously said it was hiring security guards and placing new restrictions on self-checkout to reduce theft.
Among the items that Giant plans to remove from its shelves at the Alabama Avenue store are Tide laundry detergent, Schick razor blades, Dove soap, Degree deodorant and Pantene shampoo, local reports said. The company in a statement said it was replacing brand-name products with private label brands “where possible.”
The move comes as several other retailers have either stepped up efforts to deter crime, such as locking up high-value items, or have closed stores that have been hard-hit by theft. Target, for example, said in an earnings call earlier this year that theft could cost the company $500 million this year. A flagship Whole Foods store in downtown San Francisco shut its doors in April, citing concerns over employee safety after incidents of violence and theft at the store. Walgreens and Dollar Tree are among the other retailers that have recently taken additional steps to reduce theft at their stores.