Mature Cheddar, gammon joints and coffee are top stolen items, retail theft survey finds

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L to r:  gammon, coffee and Cheddar are the most stolen food items from UK stores

L to r: gammon, coffee and Cheddar are the most stolen food items from UK stores

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Mature cheddar cheese, fresh meat including gammon joints and coffee are among the top stolen items in the UK, according to the 2012-2013 Global Retail Theft Barometer, conducted by Euromonitor and funded by Checkpoint Systems.

The survey found 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% of retail sales on average.

Shoplifting represented the biggest problem to UK retailers, accounting for 36% of total loss. However, theft by employees was also a major concern, making up 33% of the overall figure. Administrative or non-crime losses and supplier fraud were estimated at 25% and 6% of the total amount respectively.

In the UK, food theft was reported to have increased in the last 12 months, owing to the weak economy.

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 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 said: “Shrinkage is a multi-dimensional threat for retailers across the globe, with shoplifting and employee theft, including organised 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.”

Interested parties can obtain a copy of the 2012-2013 Global Retail Theft Barometer report on GlobalRetailTheftBarometer.com. Retailers wishing to participate in the Global Retail Theft Barometer 2013-2014 study may register here.