Reducing Retail Theft with Innovative Helix Hooks

Written by 
Dee Set Staff
7 August, 2023

Retail theft remains a massive challenge for UK stores, with over 1,000 theft cases reported every single day according to Co-op’s latest report. Shoplifting and organised retail crime costs retailers billions each year in lost revenue. As a result, supermarket giant Asda is taking proactive, innovative steps to deter theft in their stores by trialling new theft-resistant fixtures called helix hooks.

Last week, members of our experienced retail team visited the busy Asda store in Wolstanton to thoroughly test the installation process for a special type of hook fixture which has been designed to deter theft, known as a ‘helix hook’. This in-depth trial happened prior to the official nationwide rollout beginning August 7th, which will impact over 600 Asda locations across the country. In this one store alone, over 400 traditional peg hooks will be replaced with the specialised helix hooks.

James Ainger, Head of Retail at Dee Set commented: "Retail theft is a constant battle and challenge for major supermarkets like Asda. These new helix hooks represent the latest innovation to deter thieves and protect high-theft items, but the large-scale installation process is quite complex. We intentionally invested substantial time upfront to thoroughly test and refine the rollout plan well before deployment. This will maximise the impact and success of the program across hundreds of Asda stores in the coming weeks and months."

The primary objectives of the comprehensive trial run were multi-faceted:

  • Validate the detailed time estimates for completing the helix installation at each store, which are carefully costed based on the extent of changes required
  • Closely evaluate how easy or difficult the new theft-deterrent hooks are to actually install
  • Identify potential efficiency tips to incorporate into the written store briefing documents
  • Resolve any product fitting issues on the redesigned hooks
  • Verify adequate quantities of hooks were ordered for each location
  • Get candid feedback directly from store colleagues and staff on their thoughts
  • Clarify the re-ordering process for store colleagues once installed
  • Gain critical first-hand experience to better support the wider national rollout

The pre-rollout visit to Asda Wolstanton provided numerous valuable insights that will tangibly improve the execution and impact of the full rollout. For starters, the team discovered it was significantly faster and more efficient to unpack the helix hook deliveries in the store warehouse rather than attempting this at the retail fixture positions. This key learning has now been incorporated into the standard process. The team also established that it would be beneficial to provide a small contingency of extra hooks, so that they can deal with local issues such as planogram compliance within the scheduled visit, saving the time and cost of an additional mop-up visit.

Additionally, the team identified several products that unfortunately did not properly fit onto the redesigned helix hooks due to shape, size, or packaging changes. With these issues identified early, the briefing documents could be updated to address these challenges pre-emptively before full deployment.

The Asda store staff members were enthusiastic about the upcoming security changes and offered constructive feedback that was then incorporated into the final rollout plans. The employees helpfully pointed out potential confusion on the re-ordering process, so this was clarified in writing to answer staff questions proactively.

By taking the time to complete hands-on testing, our retail team has optimised the program for scale across 600+ Asda stores. The valuable lessons learned in Wolstanton will be applied across participating locations in the coming 9 week rollout programme. Proactive loss prevention measures like this demonstrate Asda's strong commitment to reducing retail crime through innovation while protecting their inventory assets and bottom line.

While the current rollout of innovative helix hooks illustrates one impactful way we’re helping Asda deter retail crime, it is just one of many potential initiatives we can support retailers with. To learn more about how Dee Set can provide loss prevention and retail security initiatives for you, contact our retail experts today.

Dee Set Logistics Ltd/Dee Set Confectionery Ltd, trading as Dee Set, registered in England, Scotland and Wales. Registered No: SC208421/04297287.Vat No: 896110414.