How much does a shopping cart cost

Shopping cart thieves: Aldi, Lidl and Co. are now fighting back

For years, discounters have been struggling with an unpleasant problem: thousands of shopping carts are stolen every year. According to a report by the “Neue Westfälische” (NW), around 100,000 wagons are stolen in Germany every year.

The background for the thefts is diverse. Even if the problem does not sound dramatic at first, the theft of stolen shopping trolleys leads to considerable costs for the supermarkets.

Now, however, the theft should end: To make theft more difficult, various discounters are now testing new security methods.

Theft costs the supermarkets millions every year

Frank Host, head of the EHI Retail Institute in Cologne, gives the NW clear figures: “The shrinkage rate is a good 2 percent annually, so around 100,000 shopping carts.” He also estimates that a shopping cart “has a scrap value of perhaps two to three euros ”Would have.

The fact that Aldi and Lidl are now taking security measures is due to the high difference between the purchase price and the sales value. Because even if shopping trolleys are not too expensive to buy, according to the NW there is still an annual damage of an impressive 15 million euros. This difference is usually borne by the supermarkets themselves and thus has a negative impact on the balance sheet.

From a legal perspective, theft of a shopping trolley does not constitute theft. It should be possible to prove that the trolley actually wanted to be kept. However, this evidence is difficult to provide, so that thefts of shopping carts are rarely reported. In the interview, Host also cites other reasons why shopping carts tend to disappear: "I assume that it is mostly for transport reasons, so customers want to use them to bring their purchases home."

The latest technology is supposed to help with Aldi and Lidl

The high costs and the difficulty in providing evidence are therefore reasons for the discounters to take action. The problem is a thorn in their side, so that technical innovations are already being used in individual branches.

Read also: Aldi is taking a risky step that no discounter has ever dared

With the help of magnetic or radio systems, customers should be prevented from leaving the market area with the shopping cart, as the wheels are locked. The statistics of the next few years will show whether the measures taken are having an effect.

This article was published by Business Insider in April 2019. It has now been reviewed and updated.