Report: Zara Delays Rollout of Security Tech After Shoplifters Unthwarted

Zara store

Fashion retailer Zara is reportedly facing challenges with its new anti-shoplifting system.

The system, which relies on RFID technology to replace hard security tags on apparel items, was expected to be rolled out globally in July. However, the implementation has been delayed due to issues with the new security tags being easily identified and removed during initial tests, Bloomberg reported Tuesday (Sept. 12), citing unnamed sources.

Inditex, the parent company of Zara, did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment.

A company spokesperson told Bloomberg: “The in-store implementation process of the new soft-alarm system, which uses several technologies, is going according to plan, without any significant incidents.”

The new security system using RFID technology is part of Inditex’s strategy to integrate its eCommerce business with its brick-and-mortar stores, according to the report. By eliminating hard security tags, the system aims to reduce theft by 60%.

Inditex started testing the RFID technology in some Zara stores in Spain earlier this year, the report said. The company has been experimenting with different placements of the RFID tags, including using a special type of thread made of a miniature RFID tag wrapped in textile yarn and sewn into garment seams.

However, staff have raised concerns that the new technology may make theft easier, as the RFID chips can be easily removed by shoplifters, per the report. In addition, supply holdups are adding to the need to delay the global rollout.

Inditex highlighted the debut of new security technology in its stores during its yearly earnings report in March. The company said at the time that the new technology would eliminate the need for hard tags.

“This new technology will allow a significant improvement in customer experience, facilitating interaction with our products and improving the purchasing process,” Inditex said at the time in its earnings report. It added that the new system would “be the basis for us to continue deepening the digitalization of stores and their integration with online platforms in the coming years.”

The company’s effort to implement the new technology as retailers are looking to enhance their defenses against shoplifting, which has seen an increase in recent years, according to the Bloomberg report. For example, the British Retail Consortium reported a 27% increase in store theft incidents across the United Kingdom’s 10 largest cities last year. In the United States, the National Retail Federation reported that theft resulted in $66 billion in lost sales for retailers in 2021.

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