Business Law & Compliance

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Retailers lost £3.4bn to retail crime and error in the last year

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Shoplifting, employee or supplier fraud, organised retail crime and administrative errors cost the UK high street more than £3.4bn last year and represented 1.2 per cent of retail sales on average, according to the 2012-2013 Global Retail Theft Barometer.

The report, underwritten by Checkpoint Systems, Inc. and undertaken by Euromonitor International in 2013, reveals that the cost of these losses to UK shoppers averaged £124.60 per household.

Shoplifting represented the biggest problem to UK retailers, accounting for 36 per cent of total loss. However, theft by employees was also a major concern, making-up 33 pr cent of the overall figure. Admin or non-crime losses and supplier fraud were estimated at 25 per cent and six per cent of the total amount respectively.

Food theft was reported to have increased in the last 12 months, owing to the weak economy. Products such as mature cheddar cheese, fresh meat, including gammon joints, and coffee were among the top stolen items.

Russell Holland, UK General Manager, Checkpoint Systems, said: “Over the last year, retailers have certainly been making great strides in the fight against retail crime. However, times are still tough for many families across the country hence the increase in theft of high value foodstuff such as fresh meat and cheese.”

Prevention-wise, UK retailers reported that improving security methods helped them to keep losses under control. The most popular methods of protection included EAS antennas and tagging as well as display solutions such as cable alarms for laptops. Overall, retailers interviewed estimated their future loss prevention investments would increase or stay stable.

A spokesperson from Euromonitor International, concluded, “Shrinkage is a multi-dimensional threat for retailers across the globe, with shoplifting and employee theft, including organized crime, on the rise. Growing shrink concerns have put loss prevention high on the agenda of retailers; companies are keen to invest in effective and proven loss prevention methods, collaborating with technology companies and specialists for loss management solutions to diminish these shrink problems.”

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