The Tide has run out for one grocery store in Washington, D.C.
In a city where violent crime is up, one Giant Food market in the District announced that it is clearing out brand names from many of its aisles, meaning brands such as Tide, Colgate or Advil will no longer be available, according to The Washington Post.
The store will carry its own brands of such items.
“We want to continue to be able to serve the community, but we can’t do so at the level of significant loss or risk to our associates that we have today,” Giant President Ira Kress said.
The grocery store is the last one in a neighborhood in the district’s Ward 8.
In May, Giant Food tried increasing security at its 165 stores in D.C., Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. High-theft items were removed from shelves and locked away. Security guards were hired.
Kress said at the Alabama Avenue SE store where national brands are going away, “it’s actually worse, not better. And we’ve invested a significant amount of money here, even more security here than any other store.”
“We have no other choice,” Diane Hicks, senior vice president of operations, said Thursday as she brought local officials through the store.
“I’ve been leaving it out for our customers, and unfortunately it just forces all the crime to come to us,” she said.
Kress said he’s hoping ridding the store of products with high resale value will lower theft.
“I don’t want to do this — I’d like to sell [those products],” he said. “But the reality is that Tide is not a profitable item in this store. … In many instances, people stock the product and within two hours it’s gone, so it’s not on the shelf anyway.”
Councilmember Trayon White had warned last month that theft might doom the store, according to WTTG.
“Taking from this store is really taking from yourself. We are home to a lot of senior citizens and elders who must eat at this store. And the more we take from this store, we put the store in jeopardy of closing down,” he said.
In June, Kress said he was trying to find a solution to the problem.
“We’re not a bank; we don’t have vaults,” he said then, according to WTTG. “I don’t want to create an environment where everything is locked up in the stores. But I do not see today anything occurring which is going to significantly impact positively, the escalation that’s occurring in either theft or violence.”
“It makes me feel like I live in a different world than where I used to live,” Giant customer Damion Lynch said.
“I mean, it used to be you could go to any place you wanted to go, and you could feel safe and go shopping, do whatever you need. Now, you’ve got to watch over your shoulder. I love Giant. I come here all the time. I like their products. When you come to a store though, you need to be able to feel free and safe to come. So, I don’t feel it’s just Giant’s problem. I also feel it’s the law enforcement and those who make the law,” he said.
The Post noted that other retailers are also battling rampant theft. “Our team continues to face an unacceptable amount of retail theft and organized retail crime,” Target Chief Executive Brian Cornell said last month. “During the first five months of this year, our stores saw a 120 percent increase in theft incidents involving violence or threats of violence.”
A National Retail Federation study released last year said organized retail crime incidents rose 26.5 percent.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.