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June 2, 2022


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Retail security

Forensic marking supports Homebase to achieve 20% reduction in stock loss

UK retailer Homebase has implemented a forensic marking strategy to better protect its valuable stock items and reduce theft in store.

The scheme, which utilises SmartWater’s traceable liquidand forensic asset marking solution, has resulted in a 20% reduction in stock loss and a sales increase of 10% across several branches in high crime areas, reports the retailer.

SmartWater-Homebase-22SmartWater is a traceable asset marking solution that is applied to items of value to deter theft and support police in recovering stolen property and securing a successful conviction. Each bottle of the product is uniquely formulated and comprises a long lasting and unique forensic identifier, which is invisible except under an ultraviolet black light, explained the company to IFSEC Global while exhibiting at IFSEC International in May. This ensures items can quickly and categorically be tied back to the location from which they were taken.

The team also explained to us the process of working with customers such as Homebase, which involves close collaboration with local police forces via shared crime data to understand how crime in the area is impacting businesses. This helps the strategic decision of which of SmartWater’s solutions should be specified and where may be best to locate devices.

Homebase initially trialled the solution in key stock loss areas, such as demonstration hardware, in some of its worst affected stores as a means of minimising loss prevention. Applying the traceable liquid to power tools and other valuable items, and prominently displaying ‘Protected by SmartWater’ signage, has acted as a clear deterrent to criminals and resulted in an immediate reduction in stock loss, reports the retailer. The scheme is set to be extended to further stores.

Warren Baggett, Trading Loss Prevention Manager at Homebase, comments: “Working with SmartWater will help us prevent theft while making shopping for valuable items in our stores easier for our customers. Our partnership will also help us crack down on thieves and, importantly, protect our store teams.”

Gary Higgins, Chief Operations Officer at SmartWater Group, comments: “Criminals hate SmartWater as they know it makes it far more likely that they’ll be caught and also that they’ll be successfully prosecuted. As a result, they tend to steer well clear of retailers who deploy it. We’re proud to be supporting Homebase in deterring theft from their stores, ensuring anybody stupid enough to target the company can expect to face the consequences.”

The company’s technology is widely deployed in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector, including in Co-Op branches, where its fog cannons are being used in kiosk areas – often a target for criminal behaviour due to the sale of age-restricted products.


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