Increased footfall is expected to drive shoplifting levels to a record high this Christmas, costing the UK economy more than £1bn, with department stores hit hardest.
Despite general crime rates falling, cases of shoplifting are rising with offences in 2013/14 up 6.7% against the previous year according to Home Office statistics.
Independent security business The Shield Group has warned retailers that with footfall set to be up 53% on the daily average on December 23, it will provide the perfect cover for thieves. Furthermore, the group warns that the threat is also present internally with employee theft stemming from temporary workers accounting for a £300m bill in 2013.
Chief executive of The Shield Group John Roddy told Drapers: “The retail industry relies on the festive period in order to make up for any shortfall in sales from the previous year. As a result extra staff are typically hired to help deal with the increased demand, which in turn increases the operating costs for retailers. Because of this the cost of any stolen item is magnified, failure to not only cover costs, but to turn a profit during the festive period is often the differences between remaining open or being forced to close.”
In a separate statement, he said: “Security should be every shop owner’s number one priority, not only to ensure that nothing is stolen, but also to guarantee the safety of the customers and staff. By implementing the appropriate security measures and reviewing the temporary staff that are being employed there should be no reason that crime should ruin the Christmas holidays”.
The £1bn predicted cost to the UK economy is based on an increase of 2013 data from The Centre for Retail Research, which anticipated a £978m loss.