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Walgreens just opened a redesigned retail outlet in a downtown Chicago community wherever most of the products is deliberately held out of sight.

The retail outlet, positioned on 2 East Roosevelt Road, at just one point available a usual Walgreens buying knowledge – various aisles stacked with daily essentials, cosmetics, packaged treats, overall health treatment needs and an in-store pharmacy.

Last 7 days, the very same locale reopened with a substantially pared again glimpse. Why? Walgreens says it is a digital-very first experimental retail outlet to gain clients. It’s not built to prevent theft, Walgreens claims.

But retail industry experts say trying to keep all products out of get to certain is an successful way to combat soaring incidents of shoplifting in The us.

The new Walgreens retail store now has only two aisles for purchasers to peruse for their everyday desires, these kinds of as more than-the-counter treatment, bathtub and system care provides, batteries, Band-aids, and get-and-go snacks.

Most all the things else you be expecting you locate at the drugstore chain is retained in an in-retailer success place, which is off-limitations to consumers.

People hidden goods – which include shade cosmetics, beer, wine and spirits, hair coloration solutions and reward cards – can only be accessed for acquire as a result of a kiosk program, also established up in the shop.

Consumers find and location their orders employing a tablet-like device. The moment the order is designed, a Walgreens employee retrieves the products and solutions and packs them for pickup at a different counter in the retailer.

Walgreens explained clients can also position their orders on-line for pickup in the retail outlet. The retail outlet has a pharmacy with its possess kiosk to use for check out-in and get achievement, among other functions.

In an emailed statement to CNN Friday, Walgreens mentioned the goal of the new retail store notion and technologies is to “enhance the encounters of our clients and team members” with a target on purchasing digitally for usefulness.

The shop is a single-of-a-kind. The retailer claimed the notion is screening a unique model of usefulness that is tailored for the way people are shopping now, which includes self checkout and on the net purchase/retail store pickup. The redesign was not performed as an anti-theft measure, according to the retailer.

If it were being, the move would seemingly contradict a stance taken by Walgreens’ Chief Financial Officer in January when he said, “Maybe we cried also much final year” about products losses.

But at minimum 1 sector expert informed CNN Thursday that the prototype store’s layout would safeguard it much better versus theft, particularly as nationwide retail criminal offense tendencies escalate.

In and all over Chicago, drugstore chains, 7-Eleven convenience outlets, Walmart, Concentrate on and section suppliers this kind of as Macy’s, have repeatedly been targeted by structured retail crime sprees in which a group or teams of people today steal substantial portions of merchandise, mentioned Robb Karr, president and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, an marketplace group symbolizing merchants in the point out, which include Walgreens.

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill that went into result Jan. 1 that’s developed to crack down on retail crime by increasing penalties on retail theft statewide.

“This is not just about stores dropping merchandise. These crimes are turning into a lot more intense, even violent,” claimed Karr. “I share the evaluation that the Walgreens redesign could have also been completed to restrict theft though shops are reticent to talk about theft tendencies.”

John Hassard, a protection skilled with forensic organization Robson Forensic, who specializes in retail reduction avoidance, claimed that the much more products and solutions that are locked absent in a retail store, the more challenging it is for folks to steal them.

“I don’t want to speculate on Walgreens intention with the redesign of the retailer but that is just widespread feeling,” he reported. Hassard extra that stores are often tests out new retailer ideas for a range of explanations, together with but not minimal to, reduction prevention.

“As a merchants, if you lock up products, no matter what method you use to check out to get the goods to shoppers speedily, it does gradual down the procuring experience,” he reported. “It’s significant to get the system correct devoid of inconveniencing the shopper far too considerably so they can get in and out of the retail outlet speedily.”

In accordance to the Nationwide Retail Federation, overall annual shrink (a retail metric that tracks inventory losses triggered by external theft, which include structured retail crime, staff theft, human faults, vendor fraud, broken or mismarked products) reached $94.5 billion in 2021, up from $90.8 billion from 2020. Approximately fifty percent was attributed to substantial-scale theft of items. The team stated retailers on typical noticed a 26.5% increase in this form of theft in excess of the previous year.

Lululemon said it stood by its decision a short while ago to hearth two employees who tried to intervene all through a theft in late April at 1 of its retailers in Atlanta. The yoga and athleisurewear seller claimed it has an “absolute zero-tolerance policy” for its staff members placing themselves and others “in harm’s way,”

And Focus on explained it is bracing to reduce fifty percent a billion bucks this calendar year for the reason that of increasing theft.

“We’re absolutely viewing shops adopting steps to make their shops safer,” stated Karr. “In some outlets in San Francisco, just about every aisle is behind a plexiglass barrier.”


is testing a system termed “Project Unlock” to prevent robbers from stealing highly-priced ability applications from its merchants. The principle would reduce electrical power instruments from being activated until finally after they are obtained at the sign up. The instruments are embedded with a wireless RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chip. The tag is preloaded with that item’s exclusive serial range – which is also embedded in the box’s barcode – and the products is established to inoperable.

Just after the products is ordered, a position-of-sale RFID scanner reads all tags in range, matches the device with the appropriate serial number and activates the resource for use.

“These are approaches that merchants are seeking to shield the viability of their shops, and their employees and purchasers,” claimed Karr.

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