Retailers lose £4.4 billion to shoplifters

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Figures down on previous year as recession crime spike slows.

British retailers lost £4.4 billion of stock to thieves last year, according to a new report from the Centre for Retail Research.

Favourite hauls of the thieves included lingerie, branded clothing, accessories, childrenswear, alcohol, cheese, meat and seafood.

The annual report, which was compiled from over 42,000 shops across Europe on behalf of Checkpoint Systems, revealed that average £12 million pounds of goods per day was stolen from retailers in the year to June 2010, a third of which was taken by employees.

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The amount broke down to £180 pounds on the average annual shopping bill of every family, with a typical theft spree costing £93, or £1,988 in the case of employee theft.

The amount stolen was 5.8 percent less than in 2009, during which there was believed to have been a recession linked spike in crime.

Checkpoint Systems chief executive Rob van der Merwe said: “In 2008 at the start of the economic downturn, the temptation for retailers was to reduce their loss prevention spending. This typically leads to an increase in shrink and that is what we saw with the 2009 Theft Barometer study.

“Retailers quickly realised the need to correct this trend and began to invest in smart deployments that could be quickly implemented with high ROIs, such as increased protection of high-theft merchandise, and more employee training and store audits. This resulted in a short-term win and a decrease in shrink.”

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