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Shoplifting on the rise
Economics

Shoplifting on the rise

2 min. 14.03.2012 From our online archive
Either shoplifting is on the rise in Luxembourg and Belgium or shoplifters are stealing higher value goods, a study has suggested.

Either shoplifting is on the rise in Luxembourg and Belgium or shoplifters are stealing higher value goods, a study has suggested.

The Centre For Retail Research recorded that the cost of missing merchandise in businesses in the BeLux countries grew by 6.5% from 2010 to 2011.

But these countries are not alone in their plight, it would appear. Around the world the cost of missing merchandise grew by 6.6% in 2011 with shoplifting and organised retail crime seen as the main causes of this rise.

The Global Retail Theft Barometer, published yearly by the Centre for Retail Research, surveyed a total of 1,187 retailers in 43 countries across the globe.

All merchandise unaccounted for at the time of inventory, otherwise known as shrink, is recorded in the survey. Causes for shrink include customer theft, but also theft by employees, internal errors or supply chain mistakes.

In Europe the shrink rate was up by 7.8% in comparison to last year, making up 1.39% of all retail sales. This translates into an equivalent of 150 Euro per family.

The global shrink rate was the highest recorded since the survey began in 2007 at 6.6% of retail sales, costing the industry 88.8 billion Euro between July 2010 and June 2011.

13.4% increase in customer theft

The biggest cause of shrink is customer theft. Shoplifting and organised retail crime make up 43.2% of global shrink. This is an increase of a whopping 13.4% since the 2010 survey. Dishonest employees were responsible for 35% of shrink.

In Europe 47.7% of shrink were attributed to customer theft, the equivalent of 17.2 billion Euro. The countries most affected are India, Russia and Marocco, while Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan suffer from the smallest shrink rates.

While shrink in product ranges such as eyeliner has risen dramatically by up to 30%, other high-risk items include fashion accessories, outerwear, shaving products, perfumes, as well as fresh cheese and meat.

Preventing shrink

The study suggests that retailers are taking the right measures to prevent shrink, spending 21.1 billion Euro globally on loss prevention and security. Even though this marks a rise in spending, the money went to other sectors than in previous years.

While spending on in-store loss prevention measures such as security equipment and personnel was a priority over the past years, other aspects of shrink prevention, like internal audit systems, were neglected.

Professor Joshua Bamfield, Director of the Centre for Retail Research, commented that the retailers who had recorded a decline in shrink “did not construe loss prevention merely as a matter of theft, but worked across their operation to systematically combat shoplifting, employee theft, vendor loss and administrative errors.”