Woolworths responds to theories after 'at least 10' cameras spotted in one store

Some customers claimed the cameras were not in place just to monitor for theft.

Woolworths has revealed the truth behind a shopper’s photo of security cameras lining the ceiling of one of the supermarket’s newest stores.

With Aussies already on edge following a ramp-up in surveillance to combat theft, one customer said they couldn’t help but notice they were being filmed while recently wandering through a Woolworths bakery.

“Did Woolies spend all their profits on security cameras? I counted at least 10 cameras just in this area?” they posted on Reddit on Sunday. “Woolies might have more pictures of me than my parents!”

The CCTV cameras hanging from the ceiling inside the Woolworths store.
A Woolworths customer said they couldn't help but notice the multiple security cameras hanging from a store's ceiling. Source: Reddit

Several other shoppers agreed, saying they disliked being “treated like a criminal” when picking up their groceries. However, others argued the cameras were actually installed to monitor customer behaviour.

“These track how long you stop in front of a certain product, how long you look at it. Which shelf you focus on, how you move between aisles etc.” one person claimed before adding “the fact they are also security cameras is just a bonus”.

Woolworths responds to photo of security cameras

A Woolworths spokesperson on Monday confirmed to Yahoo News the cameras in the image are “just CCTV — hence why there are quite a lot of them”.

They added that they may “look a little different” to the shopper “given the high ceilings on this store”, which they said appears to be a newer location. “People are going to see them in every store,” the spokesperson added.

Retail marketing expert Professor Gary Mortimer agreed the cameras are CCTV and are aimed at detecting theft and keeping team members and customers safe.

“Theft is costing retailers over $9 billion each year, so it is unsurprising to see more and more retailers implementing technology to reduce crime,” he told Yahoo. “With newer supermarkets, the false ceilings have been removed, exposing cabling, plumbing and air conditioning equipment. Accordingly, there is a need to suspend such CCTV units on poles.”

Professor Mortimer explained that while CCTV is often seen in the health and beauty aisles, “shoppers may begin noticing these units in other areas throughout stores”. “Sadly, retail theft can happen anywhere within a store – at the self service area, or in quiet locations around the perimeters of a store.”

Pictured left is a red light showing on a nectarine price ticket, and right is a Woolworths shopfront.
Last month Woolworths debunked a joke theory about new 'spy cameras' in a store's fruit section. Source: TikTok/Getty

Woolies debunks 'spy camera' joke

Last month Woolworths debunked a “joke” about new “spy cameras” spotted in a store’s fruit section after it caused a stir among shoppers. While it was clearly a quip meant to poke fun at the intense security measures found in supermarkets in recent years, some were quick to believe it.

Woolworths confirmed the flashing lights are not cameras, but “lights to help personal shoppers quickly identify the next item on their list”. In 2023, Woolworths began to trial new camera technology, adding more than 500 cameras in one NSW store to take pictures every hour to monitor stock levels.

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