Retail crime swindles New Zealand businesses of $1 billion in direct losses each year, with The Warehouse now trialling new protective equipment for staff.
The major retailer has been trialling different uniforms and personal protective equipment, with staff wearing items such as vests and cameras.
Additional security had also been hired at some stores to help support staff, said The Warehouse's manager of national loss prevention, Phil Morley.
A customer who visited The Warehouse at Massey's Westgate Shopping Centre alerted the Herald to the trial after seeing cameras and questioning customer privacy.
However, as long as there was signage in-store advising customers about the cameras, it was "absolutely legal", Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said.
And due to the massive issue around retail crime, cameras were key to catching thieves.
"Cameras are a key tool for crime prevention in-store and for the investigation of criminal activity in-store," Harford told the Herald.
"A particular concern is that criminals are increasingly acting in an aggressive manner that endangers staff, and cameras are key to catching retail criminals."
Morley said customers' privacy was something The Warehouse respected but signage was posted in stores stating the use of CCTV cameras.
"The safety of our customers and our team members is paramount, and we are always looking at ways to improve our systems and processes."
Managing director of First Retail Group Chris Wilkinson told the Herald cameras were likely not to be recording customers full-time.
"Typically the cameras are only activated when staff are managing a situation, so customers shouldn't be concerned."
The retail expert said cameras reduced risk through greater visible measures, kept people safe and limited their burden on the justice system.
Elsewhere, retailers in the United Kingdom were even resorting to installing temporary lock-up cells in their stores to discourage thieves, Wilkinson said.
He doubted they would be installed in New Zealand because the volumes of theft were far lower here but it highlighted the scale of the issue.
Kiwis considering stealing from retailers were simply warned to "be prepared to be caught, prosecuted and trespassed", Wilkinson said.
"Theft is a big issue, but so is the risk this causes to shop workers as thieves are becoming increasingly brazen in their approach and execution.
"Retailers are watching, collaboratively sharing information and determined to reduce shop theft and antisocial behaviour.
"From number plate recognition through to tracking suspicious behaviour, these cameras are an increasingly necessary part of keeping public areas safe."