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    Co-op chief slams sentiment of sympathy towards shoplifters

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    Co-op chief has heavily criticised the government for wrongly accusing retailers and supermarkets of profiteering, saying that due to which there is a growing sense that shoplifters may be justified in stealing from stores.

    The comments came days after Co-op released data showing highest ever levels of retail crime, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour with almost 1,000 incidents each day this year with 35 per cebt YOY increase. Co-op, which runs 2,500 outlets, recently released figures showing police were not responding to more than 70 per cent of call-outs as criminals have ‘freedom to loot’ with rampant levels of out-of-control crime predominantly committed by repeat and prolific offenders and local organised criminal gangs, targeting

    Matt Hood, managing director of the food business, has stated that people are defending looters after MPs criticised them of indulging in greedflation.

    “I was reading some of the comments when we’ve spoken about shoplifting being on the rise and people were saying ‘well, they are making so much money, so what difference does it make?’

    “What drives me insane is the amount of people who want to claim it is victimless. Tell me, if that was your child working in that shop, would you say it is a victimless crime because it is fundamentally not.”

    “If it continues as it is at the moment, it’s going to be an industry that becomes hard for us to bring people into,” The Telegraph quoted Hood as saying.

    Calling on the public to dismiss the idea “that this is because people can’t afford to feed themselves”, Hood added that “it’s fundamentally because people are using baby formula to cut drugs. They’re using it for organised crime”.

    Hood’s comments came after supermarket chiefs were subsequently dragged before MPs to explain their prices. However, a recent investigation by the UK’s competition watchdog Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) found no evidence of industry profiteering, saying that supermarkets’ margins had been squeezed by higher food costs and that falls in wholesale prices were being passed through to shoppers.

    Hood said he was “not enamoured” by the fact the CMA felt the need to investigate in the first place, saying, “The assumption that we are profiteering was never ever going to be found to mean anything.

    “This is the most competitive retail environment in the world. There is no other country that has 10 or 11 players all competing for 70 million people’s share of wallet, it just doesn’t exist.”

    “We know that the Government needs food manufacturers and retailers to help bring inflation down. The frustration was that there was an assumption that we weren’t doing that for our own benefit. The reality is we weren’t doing that because we hadn’t seen costs come down,” Hood said.

    Hood’s comments came a day after Co-op announced its biggest ever single investment in pricing of £70 million, as it extends its ‘member-only’ pricing across everyday essentials, launching with a list of nearly 200 fixed lines including milk, eggs and bread.

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