Crime cost UK retailers more than £2.34bn last year, according to the recent UK Retail Fraud Survey 2016 published by Retail Knowledge.
Launched at the Retail Risk conference and sponsored by WIS International, the survey found that employee theft was identified as the single biggest cause, with 68% of retailers citing it as their top area of loss.
Shrinkage rates – the loss of products between point of manufacture and point-of-sale – vary by retail sector from mass merchants and department stores at 2.68% of sales to a low of 0.25% of sales for hospitality and leisure retailers.
However, mass merchants and department stores have seen a massive increase in shrinkage rates since last year of 58% whereas hospitality and leisure retailers have seen a decrease of 38%.
A spokesperson for Retail Knowledge said: “Over the past few years the retail landscape, with the advent of omni-channel retail, has changed beyond all recognition, and with it, so has Loss Prevention. The nature of threats with which the LP department is now expected to deal has changed too.
“With this redrawing of the lines of risk comes increased responsibilities for those who traditionally confined themselves to a narrower LP function, as well as greater opportunity to support and contribute to the business.
“The signs are that these new approaches are working well, as you will see by this year’s shrink figure and the survey on the whole. However, it is also clear that there is no room for complacency.”
The report covers retail transactions accounting for some 32% of all UK retail sales online and offline through 34,950 stores across the UK.