'Shoppers have been secretly filmed by big stores to try to make them spend more.
Tesco, Boots, Sainsbury’s and Co-op all commissioned SBXL, a little-known behavioural analysis agency, to record customers in their aisles.
SBXL boasts it can use the footage to ‘manipulate’ the emotions and behaviour of shoppers – and raise takings. The firm, which has also worked with L’Oreal, Coca-Cola, Nestle, Danone and Kellogg’s, said adequate signage was in place and consent was sought from customers.
However, the Information Commissioner’s Office said last night that it would examine the Daily Mail’s findings to check for breaches of data protection laws.
Our undercover investigation also revealed that:
- Tesco’s sales apparently rose £106million in the 12 months after it commissioned SBXL to increase sales of treats for pets;
- Boots allowed the firm to use cameras to analyse how women apply make-up;
- Multinationals are using arms-length agencies for similar sales techniques to avoid breaching data laws;
- YouTube videos on SBXL’s public channel showed unsuspecting customers in B&Q, supermarkets and duty-free outlets;
- Footage which included children remained on the channel for eight years.
Some of the stores whose customers were filmed by SBXL also claim that appropriate signage was in place, or consent sought. However none has provided evidence to prove this.
Andy Bromley, the firm’s sales chief, showed a Mail undercover reporter footage taken in UK shops, telling her: ‘These people don’t know they’re being filmed.’
This is despite SBXL later insisting it had not carried out covert recording.
‘The Daily Mail’s investigation has highlighted concerns about the use of CCTV’, said Steve Eckersley, the ICO’s director of investigations. We will be examining the material provided and making appropriate enquiries.’'
Read more: Secretly filmed while you shop: Some of Britain's biggest stores record their customers as Boots, Asda and B&Q commission an agency that claims it can use footage to 'manipulate' behaviour