Some Aldi stores in the UK are ensuring that checkout staff check shopping bags for theft, as shoplifting rates increase amid the cost-of-living crisis.
Customers will now be required to put shopping bags on the checkout belt along with their shopping, to show they are empty – or to show staff the contents of any full shopping bags. However, if customers do not prove this, they will be refused service.
It is understood the checks at the German discounter are only carried out in a small number of stores and as a short-term measure. It is not national policy for the Aldi, meaning it does not state how individual stores should carry them out.
An Aldi shopworker told The Grocer the policy was introduced at their store last week, and the checks were separate to any carried out by security guards. “We are asking that they allow us to look in the bags to see they are empty,” the shopworker said.
If a bag is not empty, “we have been asking to look in the bags to make sure none of our items are in there”.
Aldi is one of a number of retailers to have introduced new measures in stores in recent months, as shoplifting rates soar as UK families feel the squeeze on their household budgets.
For example, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons have introduced exit barriers at the self-checkout areas in some of their stores recently.
Co-op Food MD, Matt Hood, this week blamed a growing sense that shoplifting is being justified, on accusations of profiteering aimed at retailers by politicians. “I was reading some of the comments when we’ve spoken about shoplifting being on the rise and people were saying ‘well, they are making so much money, so what difference does it make?” he told the Telegraph.
It comes days after the Co-op recorded over 175,000 incidents of crime, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour in the first six months of 2023, which equates to almost 1,000 incidents a day – a 35% year-on-year increase.
Source: Grocery Gazette