SEPHORA has become the latest retailer to lock up products to help curb shoplifting.
Frequent shoplifting of perfume, which the store reports is thieves’ favorite loot, has forced the cosmetics chain to remove all unopened boxes from display cases and lock them up.
Perfume tester bottles will still be on display in stores for customers to sample fragrances.
However, customers will now have to ask for assistance from Sephora employees in order to purchase their chosen fragrance.
Prior to this change, customers could walk up to the fragrance displays, sample a variety of perfumes, and simply pull their selection off the shelves to purchase.
Sephora’s success was built on its customers’ love of the retailer’s try-before-you-buy cosmetic display strategy which allowed shoppers to see which beauty products suited them before committing to a purchase.
It is unclear if Sephora plans to implement this change to its other cosmetics displays, which still appear to feature both tester products and unopened products on the shelves behind them.
Sephora has also added more employees to store floors that are there specifically to prevent shoplifting.
“To minimize the threats of retail theft and to provide our shoppers with the peace of mind during their experience at Sephora, we’ve increased the presence of Sephora loss prevention investigators across all stores,” the retailer said in a statement to CNN.
“The safety and security of our employees and customers is our top priority,” it added.
Sephora implemented these store changes to its US locations in July and August.
However, the display changes have not prevented thieves from making off with the tester bottles, the company has said.
The luxury perfumes that Sephora sells are highly targeted items for theft because they can be resold quickly since there is a high demand for them, according to Mark Skertic, a retail crime expert.
Unlike when purchasing other cosmetics like eyeshadow and lipstick, customers on resale sites also do not have to worry as much about hygiene and germs when purchasing fragrances secondhand.
Sephora is in good company, as many other retailers such as Target, CVS, and Walmart, have had to resort to fighting theft by locking up items that are frequently shoplifted in anti-theft cases.
“Retailers are seeing unprecedented levels of theft coupled with rampant crime in their stores, and the situation is only becoming more dire,” NRF Vice President for Asset Protection and Retail Operations David Johnston said.
“Far beyond the financial impact of these crimes, the violence and concerns over safety continue to be the priority for all retailers, regardless of size or category.”
However, many customers have expressed their frustration with these anti-theft retail policies due to the inconvenience it can add to a shopping trip, especially if a store is busy or understaffed.
Some shoppers feel so strongly about these anti-theft measures that they have threatened to boycott shopping at these stores entirely.