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Retail theft and fraud increase by 10%

Published: 23 July 2012
Retail theft and fraud are rising at an alarming rate but expenditure on prevention measures is falling.
Retail theft and fraud increase by 10%
Those are two of the findings in what is claimed to be the most detailed report ever conducted into loss prevention within the UK retail sector.

Compiled following detailed interviews with loss and fraud prevention professionals at 100 of the UK's top retailers, Martec International's Retail Fraud Study found that retail businesses have so far this year suffered theft and fraud losses of £3.4bn, a 10% increase on last year.

At the same time, spending on loss prevention by retailers fell from 0.8% of sales last year to 0.7% of sales, predictably seeing shrinkage rise - from 0.9% of sales to 1.0%.

The study says the increase means that losses now almost match retailers' profits.

The biggest area of loss for the leading 100 UK retailers is shoplifting or external theft, reported by 33% of those surveyed - but this is followed by theft of stock by stores' own employees, complained of by 22% of respondents.

Highlighting the impact of the recession on the everyday shopper, the report also found that thieves' "shopping" habits have changed. Retailers saw a fall in the theft of high-priced goods and an increase in the loss of everyday essentials such as food: joints of meat were the most commonly-stolen item.

Comments

Published prior to March 2014
By Neil Matthews, Checkpoint Systems Vice Presiden
A rise in the shrinkage rate and the cost of retail crime is clearly a worrying sign for retailers.

However, the loss prevention industry doesn t stand still, which means innovative new technologies are increasingly helping retailers tackle the problem of shrinkage.

One point worth noting is that when the Centre for Retail Research published its Global Retail Theft Barometer last year, it showed that some retailers had managed to reduce their shrinkage rate.

There were a few commonalities to the retailers that managed to do this. Firstly, they had worked across their operations to combat employee theft, administrative errors and shoplifting. Some 96 per cent had used audit programmes to monitor their loss preventions and perhaps most importantly, they increased their loss prevention spending to almost twice the global average.

Of course, shrinkage remains a problem. But a combination of more advanced technology, improved awareness of the issue and a willingness to tackle it can result in retailers protecting profits to ensure their success.
Published prior to March 2014
By Costa
interesting to determine which country has the highest % in retail theft-owner of large retail discount stores.

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