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Retail NZ Supports Facial Recognition Trial

The facial recognition trial announced today by Foodstuffs North Island will be closely watched by retailers across Aotearoa New Zealand, Retail NZ says.

“Retail NZ members are facing increasing rates of crime, putting both their employees and the public at risk, as well as threatening the financial sustainability of retail businesses,” Retail NZ Chief Executive Carolyn Young says. “The outcomes of this innovative trial will be of enormous interest to retailers across the motu.”

Retail crime is a significant issue in New Zealand, impacting more than 92% of retailers. Retail NZ released a Crime Report in October 2023 that found the cost of retail crime to its members was well over $2.6 billion.

More and more, retailers are dealing with threatening, violent or simply unpleasant customers, who are trying to steal or damage their property, Ms Young says. Organised crime groups stealing to order, drug addicts and youths looking for notoriety on social media are driving the spike in retail crime.

Retail NZ supports the introduction of new technologies to proactively combat retail crime and is pleased that Foodstuffs North Island is taking a lead with its trial.

Retail NZ is also calling on the Government to adequately resource Police to deal with retail crime, and to unclog the court system so that offenders are dealt with promptly.

“Ultimately, retail crime results in higher costs and more security barriers for all customers and consumers. We look forward to learning from this trial to see if the technology is suitable to be rolled out across other retailers,” Ms Young says.

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