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RETAIL ENVIRONMENT

Retail industry suffers from 1,060 reported incidents of shoplifting every day

Recorded store theft has reached new epidemic proportions, according to the latest research from global loss prevention solutions provider Checkpoint Systems.

Analysis from recorded crime from every police force reveals that shoplifting in the UK increased by 7.1% in 2017 when a total of 387,092 incidents of retail theft were recorded – the equivalent of 1,060 every day.

Checkpoint Systems’ research reveals that theft reached its pinnacle in March 2017, with 34,694 incidents reported.

Northumbria Police and Nottinghamshire Police recorded the largest annual increases, with 2,277 and 1,671 more incidents respectively – an average of 190 and 139 every month. However, it was Lincolnshire that recorded the highest percentage increase of 31.2%.

With approximately 43,000 retail establishments in London, the Metropolitan Police continue to handle the largest number of shoplifting reports, with 47,460 incidents recorded in 2017 – 130 every day.

Despite covering one of the largest areas of the UK, Dyfed-Powys Police recorded the lowest level of shoplifting, with an average of 25 incidents every month, yet there was still an increase of 19.1% in 2017.

Of the six forces reporting a decrease in shoplifting, Northamptonshire Police saw the number of incidents fall by 7.6% and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) by 4.6%.

At a time when physical stores are experiencing unprecedented challenges, the figures make worrying reading for the estimated 330,000-plus UK retailers.

According to Checkpoint, the reality is that reported incidents are likely to just be the tip of the iceberg.
Many retailers do not have the resources to identify or apprehend thieves and the perpetrators simply continue to commit crimes until they are caught.

Neville Payne, VP of Merchandise Availability Solutions at Checkpoint Systems UK, which develops intelligent retail solutions that are designed to reduce shrinkage, said:  “Recorded incidents of shoplifting as well as Organised Retail Crime are increasing, with thieves targeting stores that either don’t have security antennas and protected merchandise, or those that have poor alarm compliance. Stolen products lead to incorrect inventory and out of stocks, which negatively impact the overall shopping experience.

“However, it doesn’t just fall at the doorstep of the retailer, there need to be tougher penalties on those caught shoplifting, otherwise they will keep reoffending. And, as retailers are trialling more open store formats and flexible payments, the high street simply can’t cope with a ‘five finger discount’ mentality becoming the norm.”

 Click here to view the UK shoplifting league table. 

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