Barnes & Noble is installing cameras and locking away expensive items to deter shoplifters and thieves as they brace for a post-pandemic rush of holiday shoppers this year. At dozens of retail locations American Girl ‘Wellie Wisher’ dolls are shackled to the shelves with electronic ties. At one of their bookstores in Manhattan, customers have to carry empty Lego set boxes to cashiers and receive the pieces after their purchase. If you are looking for a Nook or one of their tablets, many of the products have empty boxes, which you have to pay for at the customer service desk or cashiers.
Apple started posting a plainclothes security guard at its stores more often in recent weeks after thieves at a few locations stole iPhones straight out of employees’ hands, a person familiar with the matter said. At one U.S. store, an undercover guard roams the floor during the five busiest days of the week, up from two to three days a week a few months ago, a source said.
Last year, 83,000 burglaries occurred during the holiday season for an estimated $131 million in lost revenue. This year, some looters are using smash-and-grab techniques to rob stores across the country. A video shot in Memphis shows more than 20 people ransacking a store, wiping it clean of about $100,000 of merchandise.
The retail industry has decried theft this holiday season as it struggles with excess inventories and a pullback in consumer spending at a time of high inflation. “Sales are suppressed. Profits are being punished at the time of the highest inflation in 42 years. And now with the cost of preventing crime going up, that’s going to be passed along in higher prices,” said Burt Flickinger, managing director at retail consulting firm Strategic Resource Group.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.