Alcohol theft is not purely a problem facing independent retailers. Parfetts Cash Carry’s Halifax depot has for some time identified a particular problem with shrinkage across its single-bottle spirits section.
The single one litre bottles were particularly targeted being the most valuable, and stock checks were indicating that Parfetts could be losing up to pound;4,000 a year in this size alone.
But the company has now established that shrinkage has been reduced thanks to the new Blueprint PLOD – Putting Leaders On Display – initiative. Retailers using the depot have not found the system to be inconvenient in any way and thieves are being deterred. As Parfetts is heavily involved in the very successful FWD Take Home Blueprint scheme, the company was aware of the latest Blueprint PLOD initiative, using security caps, and had nominated several of its own retailers to take part in the on-going retail trial.
However, Parfetts decided that PLOD was an initiative that could work at wholesale level too.
As well as helping to reduce its own shrinkage it would also be replicating and endorsing good retail security practice in its depot for retail customers to see how it works for themselves.
Deputy general manager at the depot Jason Lough explains: “Across all areas of retail from the wholesaler through to the independent store, shrinkage is a common problem and something that we at Parfetts are not immune from either.
“We were aware of the Blueprint’s PLOD scheme and the benefits it was providing for our retailers, so we were keen to see if the caps would also work on our single bottle allocation in the depot.”
It is a well-known fact that the majority of theft of alcohol is for re-sale and not for the thief’s own consumption. The caps, provided by Colindale Associates, the UK supplier of Alpha Security Caps, work by making it impossible to get into the bottle without smashing the top, eliminating the ability to sell it on.
PLOD Blueprint co-ordinator Dave Batt along with Alison Mitchell, regional Blueprint specialist for the Yorkshire area, agreed to install the system across Parfetts’ Halifax depot with 1,500 caps fixed across the large spirits range and expensive champagne bottles. Cap releasers have been installed at each of the eight checkouts.
Jason concludes: “All the staff have been impressed at how simple the system is, yet how effective it is at deterring theft of these products. Our customers have not found the caps an inconvenience in any way, as the removal at the checkout is so quick and easy.
“The caps, while serving a practical purpose, also send a message to those very few dishonest people that we take this issue very seriously and the wholesale industry is looking at ways of beating the thieves.”
=== pLOD PAYS OFF FOR RETAILERS ===
PLOD is trialling in independent retail stores throughout the country and initial reports indicate that it can produce significant sales increases in spirits.
The scheme involves moving 70cl and one litre bottles from the “coffin” display behind the counter and placing them on open shelves in the shop near the till.
The scheme is backed by supportive participants in the FWD Blueprint for Spirits and Fortified Wines.
Security caps are easily placed on the bottle and just as easily removed by the system’s cap release mechanism placed at the till.
But the thief is forced to smash the bottle to get at the liquid.
The system is marketed by Colindale Associates, the UK suppliers of the Alpha process.