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More Self-Checkouts Closing as Anti-Theft Policies Increase

The lane closures are rumored to be responses to increasing retail theft

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PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

Target, Walmart and other retailers are closing self-check lanes in stores across California, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, in response to increasing retail theft, according to KTLA.

Walmart and Costco announced in November that they are “rethinking self-checkout,” CNN reported. In December, Target and Safeway stores in San Francisco were doing away with self-checkout lanes and self-service areas, SFGATE.com reported and wrote that it is “a trend in ‘defensive retailing’ that may soon spread across the city.”

Retail theft in California is allegedly increasing to such an extent that one hardware store in San Francisco, Fredericksen Hardware, is requiring its customers to be accompanied by an employee while shopping, reported CBS news.

In September, Target announced it was closing three stores in the San Francisco area. It said in a statement at the time the closures were “because theft and organized retail crime are threatening the safety of our team and guests and contributing to unsustainable business performance.”

Many big box retailers have slowly made changes to self-checkouts over the past year – including Walmart closing self-checkouts in New Mexico and Costco implementing stricter surveillance in its lanes, according to SFGATE.com.

Walmart said in a statement when asked about the recent lane closures: “We’re always looking at ways to innovate and improve our stores. We have nothing to announce related to self-checkout removals at this time.” Target did not respond to KTLA’s request for comment.

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