Australia’s $2.7 billion retail theft cost

Shoplifting, employee or supplier fraud and administrative errors (‘shrink’) are collectively costing the average Australian household more than $424 a year, according to statistics published in the 2014-2015 Global Retail Theft Barometer, released internationally yesterday.

While retail shrink dropped in Australia from one per cent of sales in 2013-2014 to 0.96 per cent during 2014-2015 (based upon responses from common retail respondents who participated in Global Retail Theft Barometer surveys both years) the problem continues to cost retailers $2.7 billion a year.

“Globally, this compares to 1.42 per cent, a figure also up from the previous 0.94 per cent average of all common retailers surveyed the previous year,” said Mark Gentle, Vice-President – Sales Asia Pacific with Checkpoint Systems (Australia/NZ).

“In fact, among the four APAC countries that were surveyed, Australia registered the lowest shrinkage rate [1.02 per cent] during 2014-2015.”

APAC supermarkets/grocery retailers (1.68 per cent), sports goods stores (1.32 per cent) and hypermarkets/mass merchandisers (1.06 per cent) witnessed the highest shrink rates because of the widespread prevalence of internal and external retail theft targeting their merchandise.

“This is our 14th year of supporting what continues to be the industry’s only global statistical research,” Mr Gentle said. “To combat shrink, retailers are adopting strategies to approach losses from a wider perspective from all levels within the organisation and work with their supplier and solutions partners. With the right technologies, people and processes, they can achieve improved merchandise availability, which directly impacts shoppers’ satisfaction and retailers’ profitability.”

The study, underwritten by an independent grant from Checkpoint Systems, Inc. (NYSE: CKP), was carried out 2014-2015 by The Smart Cube and Ernie Deyle, a retail loss prevention analyst. It was based on in-depth phone and written survey interviews conducted in 24 countries among more than 200 retailers, representing nearly US$1 trillion ($1.4 trillion) in sales during 2014-2015.

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