Security solutions for retail store in Spain

In the El Corte Inglés department store in Pozuelo, a small town northwest of Madrid that is popular among celebrities and well-to-do families, everything must be just so, including security. The 75 Securitas officers who work there in the shopping center must make sure that the whole security concept meets the customer's expectations.

Retail giant El Corte Inglés encompasses some ten different brands of stores, shops and department stores today. The group had a turnover of close to 16 billion euros last year and currently employs more than 90,000 people. The Corporate Security Director Juan Carlos Fernandez-Cernuda Hidalgo explains the security philosophy of the Group: "The backbone of our work is prevention, to protect our customers and employees. We use a combination of technical systems and manpower and have a common platform for all of our different types of stores: the latest in fire protection, evacuation planning and physical protection of our buildings and goods."

Store Within a Store

The El Corte Inglés store is four stories, two above ground and two below. Behind its imposing granite façade, there is also a supermarket – Hipercor.

The level of security varies within the two stores. El Corte Inglés stores have a higher level of security than Hipercors partly because they have more high-priced merchandise, including firearms, jewelry and exclusive branded goods. El Corte Inglés stores also usually have several floors with many entrances and exits, while Hipercor stores are on only one level and have fewer entrances. Naturally, this affects systems for fire protection, monitoring customers' safety and preventing theft, as well as security officers' duties, and skill sets.

Safer Parking

The shopping center has a total of 3,000 parking spaces, both above and under ground, and El Corte Inglés keeps parking areas under constant surveillance. The walls of the shopping center's underground monitoring center are covered with CCTV monitors, which display images from the center's 180 strategically placed cameras. All alarms, whether fire, intrusion or theft, are connected to the monitoring center. An alarm can be sent automatically or manually.

Securitas' service at the Pozuelo shopping center is constantly evaluated and measured. A security inspector, a function that Securitas offers large retail customers, coordinates the security on-site, including recruitment, training, service planning and short- and long-term staffing. The inspector also makes sure that security officers’ shirts are ironed and jackets spotless, in line with the store’s standards for quality and service.

Security Director Juan Carlos Fernandez-Cernuda Hidalgo says the years of working together have given him confidence in Securitas. "Securitas performs very well. Both our companies are large, which is a good fit. We have high demands and Securitas has the resources to meet those demands."

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