Henry has his hands full with thieving customers: ‘Every euro is one too many’

It happens all the time at the Coop supermarket in Vinkel: even in broad daylight, customers take groceries without paying. Supermarket manager Henry Hubers is despondent. That theft costs him money every month and now he has also had to pay a lot for extra security equipment. If something doesn’t change soon, the entrepreneur has to stop.

Profile photo of Loïs Verkooijen

Cigarettes are mainly stolen in the store, even in broad daylight. Hubers often only finds out afterwards that things are missing. “When the shelf is empty, it’s already too late.” Hubers does not know exactly how much is stolen, “but everything that is stolen is too much.”

Hoping to deter thieves, Hubers has now installed fourteen cameras in and around his store. “Every corner is now in the picture, even outside. Whether it helps? We’ll have to see.” It was an investment of six thousand euros for Hubers. “It’s actually sad that it should.”

“I just hope this year gets better.”

For the entrepreneur from Vinkel, the theft damage comes on top of a higher energy bill (50,000 euros extra last year), higher wages and a higher rent. But raising the prices of the products is not an option, he says. “Then you know for sure that you are digging your own grave. I just hope this year gets better, otherwise we will just have to stop.”

Theft in supermarkets is an increasing problem. The cause of this is, among other things, the high inflation, which means that people have less to spend. According to the NOS, an average of 66,300 euros per store was not paid last year. That is about 20,000 euros more than a year earlier. This is an additional cost item of 70 million euros for the entire supermarket sector.

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