Shoplifting and fraud to cost UK retailers £1 billion over Christmas
A new study is predicting that retailers in the UK will lose as much as £1 billion over the busy festive period as a result of shoplifting, dishonest employees and vendor or distribution losses.
The ‘Shoplifting for Christmas 2012’ report by the Centre for Retail Research found that UK retailers could lose £522 million through shoplifting, £431 million through employee theft, and £47 million through vendor and distribution losses. In total, the losses could represent a 3.4% increase over the same period last year.
The centre said that the losses incurred over the period could add an extra £38.09 to each UK family’s shopping bill.
Commenting on the findings, Professor Joshua Bamfield, author of the report and director of the Centre for Retail Research, said: "The Christmas season is an especially attractive time for criminals. Thieves take advantage of busy stores to steal high-value, high-demand goods. As a result, retailers face a big threat from professional and semi-professional thieves, many of whom steal goods with the intention of re-selling them. Organised retail crime is a major concern for retailers – especially since the average amount stolen per incident is much higher than normal thefts."
The report also revealed the product categories most likely to be stolen over the Christmas period. These included alcohol, women's clothing and fashion accessories, toys, perfumes, smart phones and tablet computers as well as item such as men’s toiletries, DVD gift sets and game consoles, food and Christmas decorations, electrical goods, and watches and jewellery.
Per Levin, president of Checkpoint Systems, the company which provided a grant to fund the report, said: "During Christmas, consumers spend 60% more than in other months, and retailers need to ensure the merchandise is available on the shelves for consumers to buy.
"We know from Professor Bamfield’s past studies that there is a clear correlation between investments in preventive solutions and the rate of shoplifting. With the right solutions in store, it is possible to reduce the threat of further losses, increase merchandise availability and reap the maximum returns during holiday season."
Overall, the study found that the cost of shoplifting and fraud to retailers over the Christmas period would be €5.8 billion in Europe, and $8.9 billion in the USA.
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