United Supermarkets Case Study


Medeco XT Delivers New Level of Key Management for the United Supermarkets Chain

Retailers lose more than $44 billion annually due to inventory theft. Theft results in an average shrinkage rate of 1.47 percent. However, grocery stores and supermarket retailers see an above average shrinkage rate of 2.60 percent.* The greatest portion of this theft is attributed to employee theft (41 percent) and shoplifting (33 percent) with one in five internal theft cases involving collusion with an outside partner.

A retail operation, such as a grocery store or supermarket, involves being open 24 hours a day, nearly 365 days a year, as well as overseeing employees at multiple staff levels. As United Supermarkets continued to grow and expand, management knew it was time to find a solution that worked in existing stores, as well as one that could be deployed in future stores, across multiple staffing levels.

Expansion Brings Challenges In Security

United Supermarkets is a Texas-based, family-owned retail grocery chain with 51 stores in 30 markets. With nearly one million shoppers each week, operating under four distinct brands (United Supermarkets, Market Street, Amigos, and United Express) United Supermarkets growth and brand expansion has been successful, but with the expansion came security challenges. In 2012, United Supermarkets took stock of its security systems and recognized it did not have an efficient way to manage keys, ranging from who had keys, to when keys were issued, and most importantly, whether or not the keys were being duplicated. Having a mechanical, non-patent system, made the cost of re-keying and system maintenance significant. “There were times when we wondered how many keys were out there for certain stores and who was using them for what purpose. We were also spending anywhere from $100 to much more—re-keying in just one location,” said Marcus Young, United Supermarkets Director of Asset Protection. “We needed a system that would allow us to manage access from a centralized location.”*

New Level of Key Management

While working with United Supermarkets, the Medeco Engineered Security Solutions (ESS) team identified Medeco XT as the right solution. Medeco XT offered all the features United Supermarkets needed in a retail security system:

  • System management from one central location
  • No cost re-keying for a lost key
  • Power to disable keys without changing locks or keys
  • Ability to change access levels, plus control access at the individual level depending on time of day, shift worked, after-hours work, or holiday staffing.

Young sums it up, “The Medeco XT solution means no more on-site keys—ever. We have tighter access control at the individual level, and we’re able to drill down into data and track usage like never before. The system means if we need to know everyone who used a certain door, on a certain day, we can run one report and have that information at our fingertips.”

With Medeco XT, United Supermarkets now has a way to establish audit trail information by instantly seeing who used their access in case a manager needs to check an issue. Medeco XT software allows United Supermarkets to pull a report giving managers specifics on who used the key, where, and when, so they can immediately address internal theft issues. The Medeco XT product line even allowed United Supermarkets to monitor access to unique locations such as trash compactors through the padlocks.

New Level of Key Management

Medeco XT proved to be a good investment for United Supermarkets. As Young noted, the system paid for itself in terms of the cost of re-keying in less than one year. Young added that for the first time in United Supermarkets’ history, they have a centralized view of access at the store level.

Continued Expansion

United Supermarkets incorporated the Medeco XT into a new Market Street store that opened in Lubbock, Texas with plans to use the Medeco XT in all new stores moving forward and to retrofit existing stores.


* Hollinger, Richard & Adams, Amanda. (2014); 2012 National Retail Security Survey Report, Final Report.


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