Retailer losses made by fraud and theft increased by ten per cent year-on-year between May 2011 and May 2012.
This led to a combined retail loss of some £3.4 billion during the 12 months, according to Martec International’s Retail Fraud Study.
The data shows that shoplifting increased by three per cent throughout the year, while online fraud rose by four per cent. And 40 per cent of internal thefts were spotted and reported by honest staff.
Frances Riseley, Martec’s deputy MD, said: “It is common that in times of recession, theft and fraud increases, but this activity has cost UK retailers £3.4 billion in the space of a year.
“Worringly for retailers, 22 per cent of this was due to theft by their own staff, highlighting the importance to retailers of installing a positive culture to prevent losses. These surprisingly high losses come against a back drop of a difficult trading period creating more uncertainty for UK retail.”
Retailers’ spend on loss prevention fell from 0.8 per cent to 0.7 per cent.
Mike Gleeson, development and operations manager for business protection at John Lewis, added: ““We participated in the Retail Fraud Study and found the insight the report provides valuable, demonstrating that the retail sector benefits from a collaborative approach in tackling the issues it faces."
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