A survey of retail crime and loss in the world says India has the highest retail shrinkage at 3.2% in the world. Retail shrinkage is the loss of products due to shoplifting, employee theft, paperwork errors and supplier fraud. The country’s retailers complain that the main causes for the US $2.6 billion loss are shoplifting and employee theft.
The survey, the third annual Global Retail Theft Barometer 2009, covered 1,069 large retailers across 41 countries between July 2008 and June 2009.
India has consistently maintained its position in top spot with desi thieves preferring to steal electronic items, cosmetics, alcohol, apparel and jewellery over other goods because of their value and portability. The international list of most-stolen merchandise includes Wii games, printer cartridges, razor blades, branded watches and DVDs. ‘‘The smaller the gadget the more the chances of it getting stolen, also MP3 players and cell phones are the most stolen items among others.
The shoplifting theft rate in the country is at 45%, which is more higher than the global average rate of 43%. Shoplifting has become very rampant in jewellery shops across all the Metros in the country. Many thieves operate in gangs and are skilled operators who don’t get caught easily. Very few threaten with brandishing knives. And in that regard EAS (electronic articles surveillance) machines, dummy models of goods, CCTV cameras, security guards and other security spending by Indian retailers amounted to US$ 158 million.
After shoplifting, employee theft accounted for 23.3% of retail shrinkage. Store managers are now making sure employees are frisked every time they leave the store. It is easier to catch a shoplifter than your own staff stealing. The survey highlights that the amount of loss incurred due to employee theft is five times more than shoplifting in the Asia Pacific region.
And to curb the retail theft, the most popular security resource is the human security guard, followed by CCTV cameras and EAS systems. It is known to most of them who are in retail profession that ‘‘Shrinkage directly hits profitability".