The smash-and-grab crime wave and ongoing threats of petty theft trashing stores and bottom lines have reportedly migrated to Washington, D.C.
As a result, a D.C. grocery store has removed common household items from store shelves now as a way to deter theft, The Washington Post reported.
Giant Food has been forced to check customer receipts at the door and stop selling brand-name items such as Tide laundry detergent, Colgate toothpaste, and Advil pain reliever, according to the report.
The Alabama Avenue SE grocer in D.C.’s Ward 8 is making the drastic changes due to the theft that has deepened the cut in market’s profitability, the Post reported.
“We want to continue to be able to serve the community, but we can’t do so at the level of significant loss or risk to our associates that we have today,” Giant President Ira Kress told the Post.
“At this particular store, it’s actually worse, not better, and we’ve invested a significant amount of money here, even more security here than any other store.”
Giant Food is not alone.
“Our team continues to face an unacceptable amount of retail theft and organized retail crime,” Target Chief Executive Brian Cornell said in August, according to the Post. “During the first five months of this year, our stores saw a 120% increase in theft incidents involving violence or threats of violence.”
Retail crime was up 26.5% in 2021, costing losses of $94.5 billion, according to the Post, citing a last year’s National Retail Federation study.
Giant Food has 165 markets in the region, but it was forced to hire more security guards, close secondary entries, limit the number of checkout items, take high-theft items out of reach of shoppers, and lock up easily stolen products, the Post reported.
“We have no other choice,” Giant Food Senior Vice President of Operations Diane Hicks told the Post. “I’ve been leaving it out for our customers, and unfortunately it just forces all the crime to come to us.”
The move to the store-brand-only sales is due to the fact those have less street resale value for cash, according to the report.
“I don’t want to do this — I’d like to sell [those products], but the reality is that Tide is not a profitable item in this store,” Kress told the Post. “In many instances, people stock the product and within two hours it’s gone, so it’s not on the shelf anyway.”