John Lewis chairwoman Sharon White is urging the government to clamp down on increasing levels of theft and introduce tougher legislation.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, White said the government should implement tougher legislation, explaining, “legislation is different in Scotland, so if you’re a shop worker and you’re abused and attacked there’s a specific law that means it’s an offense.
“Legislation could do more and of course the police are stretched but its not a victimless crime.”
This comes as John Lewis sister company Waitrose has seen “rising numbers of shoplifting offences – often by organised gangs as well anti-social behaviour”.
The partnership added that although none of its staff had been seriously injured, some “have been threatened with weapons”.
Subscribe to Grocery Gazette for free
Assaults on Waitrose employees have roughly doubled since 2020, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
Physical assaults on front-line store workers have risen 30% year-on-year while anti-social behaviour and verbal abuse are up by 20%, with 850 cases of abuse against store staff recorded daily.
White believes “there is a growing recognition that these aren’t trivial crimes, because those costs, if you’re suffering theft, those costs go back to the customers”.
She added: “I think it makes a massive difference knowing your local copper will be there and take it seriously.”
This comes as the upmarket retailer has launched a new ‘thanks a latte’ initiative, offering free coffees to police officers who bring a reusable cup to a Waitrose or John Lewis store.