M&S chairman Archie Norman has warned faulty self-checkouts are behind shoplifting “creeping in” among the middle classes. The Marks and Spencer chief said the retailer was seeing shoppers were tempted to leave without paying when the machines failed to scan products.
The M&S chair told The Telegraph : “With the reduction of service you get in a lot of shops, a lot of people think: ‘This didn’t scan properly, or it’s very difficult to scan these things through and I shop here all the time. It’s not my fault, I’m owed it'”. M&S shops were less “attractive” for criminal gangs who preferred to steal branded goods to sell on, he added.
Mr Norman said amid the shoplifting epidemic: “Nobody quite understands why this has happened, but shoplifting has become a global problem. We’re seeing this rise. It’s too easy to say it’s a cost of living problem. Some of this shoplifting is gangs. Then you get the middle class.
“With the reduction of service you get in a lot of shops, a lot of people think: ‘This didn’t scan properly, or it’s very difficult to scan these things through and I shop here all the time. It’s not my fault, I’m owed it’.” Speaking on LBC’s Money with David Buik and Michael Wilson, the M&S chairman said: “You see it with the self-checkouts, there’s a little bit of that creeping in.”
There were some 365,164 shoplifting offences reported to police in England and Wales in the year to June - up 25 per cent on the previous 12 months, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Offenders are becoming increasingly “emboldened” and appear to be often led by criminal gangs, said the British Independent Retailers Association.
Dan White, policy and campaigns officer at Disability Rights UK, told The Big Issue: “Too often politicians want to address the symptoms, instead of looking at the root causes and tackling deep inequalities within our society.”