Lamb’s Markets to Reduce Checkout Shrink with New Solution

Community-based independent Lamb’s Markets, an upscale family-owned and operated grocery chain serving greater Portland, Ore., has deployed a new loss prevention solution to reduce retail theft — as well as cashiers’ mistakes — at the checkout.

Lamb’s has installed ScanItAll video recognition software from Cambridge, Mass.-based StopLift Checkout Vision Systems throughout its five-store chain.

The technology was developed to detect “sweethearting” — when cashiers pretend to scan merchandise but deliberately bypass the scanner, thus not charging the customer for the merchandise.

“While we grocers can’t increase our revenues in this economy, we can now reduce our shrink,” said Gale Lasko, co-owner of Wilsonville, Ore.-based Lamb’s. “Sweethearting has contributed to the rising cost of food, and if we can prevent it, we can hold down food prices.”

In addition to detecting sweethearting, the system detects incidents of “scan-avoidance” where merchandise isn’t scanned or rung up before being given to the customer — which includes incidents that may be due to mistakes by the cashier, rather than theft. For example, a cashier may accidentally hold an item too high for the scanner to record.

Lamb’s, which has 350 employees, recently set up a cashier training program to ensure that all items are scanned. It will incorporate Stoplift video examples into its employee orientation to significantly reduce Lamb’s losses due to missed scans.

Cambridge, Mass.-based StopLift monitors 100 percent of Lamb’s existing security cameras mounted over the checkout registers. As soon as a scan-avoidance or sweethearting incident occurs, the technology flags the transaction, identifying the cashier and the date and time of the incident.

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