Retailers are to receive apologies from youths who have stolen from their stores or committed a crime against them.
Youth Conditional Cautions form part of the government's new Youth Crime Action Plan to tackle crime and reduce the number of young people going through the courts.
Unruly teenagers will now be given the option of apologising to their victims and making amends.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said that if a teenager stole a chocolate bar, they would have to return to the store and pay for it. Similarly, a graffiti artist would have to clean up their work.
Retailers have rubbished the new cautions, which are to be brought into force next April.
Independent retailer Carey Lake from Redlands Stores in Fareham, Hampshire, said: "This isn't a punishment, it's a joke. It's very easy to stand there and say sorry with a smirk on your face. We need to be much tougher on these crimes."
Other measures in the £10m plan include: opening youth centres in the evenings and at weekends to keep teenagers occupied; increasing the number of ASBOs accompanied by a parenting order; and more visible police patrols during after-school hours.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: "Youth crime can have a devastating effect on its victims and communities and must be tackled head-on.
"I want to send the message to perpetrators that their actions are unacceptable."