A national campaign to tackle retail crime across 275 shopping centres has resulted in a reach of more than 200 million customers. 

The campaign was launched in late 2023 when the Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA) partnered with the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) and the National Retail Association (NRA) to run its ‘No One Deserve a Serve’ ads for free, nationally. It ran for 47 days from Melbourne Cup to Christmas Eve 2023 across digital advertising screens, with $6 million in commercial advertising value being provided to the SDA’s campaign by SCCA members.

According to a campaign debrief, the adverts appeared across more than 275 shopping centres in Australia, comprising more than 32,000 retailers.

The ads appeared more than 100 million times across 3,200 digital advertising screens, with more than 200 million customers viewing the six campaign messages.

A comparative analysis of security incidents in the same period in prior years is currently being undertaken to examine the success of the campaign.

The ‘No One Deserves a Serve’ campaign was aimed at ensuring retail workers are treated with respect. 

SCCA CEO Angus Nardi said the campaign rollout was a success, but added that retail crime continues to be a challenge for many retailers.

“I’m incredibly proud of our members’ $6 million investment to support the campaign, and that the ads were seen by more than 200 million customers across more than 275 shopping centres. 

“The central purpose of the campaign is retail worker safety, and I look forward to continued engagement with the SDA and NRA on this important issue.

“While most people do the right thing, unfortunately retail crime continues to be a major challenge including with reoffending, brazen theft, violence and use of weapons.

“We’ll continue to engage with Governments on this pressing public policy issue, alongside our industry’s dedicated community safety and security taskforce.”

There been various reported instances of retail crime across Australia and New Zealand, with retailers taking action to combat the issue. In one instance, department store Myer enlisted the help of police in September 2023 to combat rising levels of aggression in stores. That came as the now-outgoing CEO John King told investors last year that rates were "definitely way worse" than pre-COVID levels. 

Around the same time, a recent survey by the Australian Retail Association (ARA) across 102 retail organisations found that 91 per cent of respondents have experienced retail crime.

Retail crime appears to be far worse in Aotearoa/New Zealand, with one major retailer trialling facial recognition technology to drive down theft and abuse. 

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s coalition government has implemented Young Offender Military Acadamies to crack down on youth offenders that make up a significant chunk of retail crime cases across the country.

The latest Australian campaign by SDA, NRA and SCCA was launched in early November at Highpoint Shopping Centre (owned by The GPT Group) in Melbourne.

The SDA highlights that over 85% of retail workers have experienced abusive behaviour from customers.

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