A grocery store chain in Europe said that shoplifting losses exceeded profits made by the company in 2023, reports show.
“We often catch people not scanning products, or not paying at the cash register. People are becoming increasingly sophisticated in not paying for products. You sometimes fall over in shock to witness how creative people are to take products without paying,” Ton van Veen, CEO of grocery chain Jumbo, told Netherlands-based news outlet ANP.
Jumbo is a grocery chain with more than 700 locations that operate in both Belgium and the Netherlands. The company detailed in an earnings release that the value of items stolen from store locations was 25% higher than profits pulled in last year, the NL Times reported.
The chain said that shoplifting usually leads to a loss of 100 million euros ($110 million) each year, exceeding the anticipated annual profit of around €80 million ($88 million) after taxes in 2023.
“In many stores, the loss due to stolen products now amounts to around 1 percent of turnover, and store employees are confronted with unpleasant situations and increased tensions,” the company said, according to the NL Times.
Jumbo officials said that there was an estimated 60% increase in shoplifting incidents in 2023 compared to 2022, with the cost of living fanning the flames of theft and crime, the Financial Times reported. The grocery chain added that self-checkout has also contributed to the increase in shoplifting, accounting for one-third of the thefts.
“This is a growing problem, and we are appealing to politicians to address this,” Van Veen said, according to the NL Times.
“It also very much depends on the neighborhood. There are market areas where we are more troubled by it, and there are areas where it is less prevalent,” he continued.
To combat the crime trend, the supermarket chief said the company is deploying security guards at a “growing number” of grocery store doors, and will focus on adding camera surveillance to locations.
“We will communicate with customers so that they know that they are being recorded. We respect all privacy regulations. As soon as we take concrete steps, we will provide further information about this,” Van Veen said, according to NL Times.
Similar to a handful of U.S. cities, areas of Europe have reported increases in retail theft in recent years.
A study published late last year found that four in 10 people in Belgium would leave a grocery store with at least one item they did not pay for, the Brussels Times reported.
In the Netherlands, a study found that shoplifting incidents increased by at least 15% in 2023, compared to the year prior.
Fox News Digital reached out to Jumbo’s press team Thursday for additional comment.