Walgreens Opens ‘Anti-Theft’ Store In Chicago

Following a rash of thefts at its locations, the pharmacy chain Walgreens opened a version of its store intended to prevent shoplifting. The downtown location offers just two aisles for customers to browse items normally. Otherwise, consumers must order from designated kiosks to receive items.

The company wrote that the new approach would “have the latest in e-commerce offerings to increase customer service, mitigate theft and increase safety for our customers and employees.”

The company said the new store was part of a “new experience” that would include “new concepts, technologies and practices to enhance the experiences of our customers and team members.”

Other than the two aisles of “essential” items, customers must request items through an iPad allows them to select further items through Walgreens’ “full selection.”

A company representative said that the store would continue to offer the same products and services as before, but “with a new look and feel that focuses on shopping digitally for convenience.”

The new security measures took place after a wave of shoplifting affecting Walgreens and other retailers following the death of George Floyd in 2020.

The company closed a number of retail locations around the San Francisco area, citing “organized retail crime.”

Walgreens cited theft rates in the city as approximately five times the average of other stores.

The company said that in response, it “increased our investments in security measures in stores across the city to 46 times our chain average in an effort to provide a safe environment.”

A number of other retailers reported similar issues due to theft, including Walmart.

Last year, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said that the chain would begin to close locations if the wave of shoplifting continued.

Estimates from the National Retail Federation rated 2021’s total shoplifting losses at almost $100 billion, including a 26% increase in organized crime theft.

In particular, a California law is often cited as one of the major reasons behind the increase in shoplifting in the state. Proposition 47 placed a $950 threshold on retail theft before it is considered a misdemeanor.

Since the proposition’s passage in 2014, the incidents of widespread theft in the state have increased markedly.

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