UK retailers lost more than £800m to shoplifting last year, with lingerie among the most stolen items.
With employees stealing a further £770m in goods in 2014, it means Britain’s shops lost 1.57bn to theft, according to the 2015 Global Retail Theft Barometer (GRTB), which was compiled by retail security experts Checkpoint Systems.
Top of the target list for shoplifters are fashion accessories, including jeans, t-shirts and underwear.
Russell Holland Global Accounts director at Checkpoint Systems said this was down to the high resale value of apparel.
“When we bear in mind that a lot of retailers are trying to put investment into adding value for money for British consumers, it is actually money straight off their bottom line,” he said.
“It affects most high street retailers to varying degrees. At the top end is apparel, which is clearly impacted by the value of items that they are selling.”
According to official police data, there were more than 329,000 recorded incidents of shoplifting in the UK last year, a 3% rise on 2013 level.
Of the 44 forces analysed by Checkpoint Systems, just 14 recorded a decline in shoplifting last year.
Responding to the figures, Holland added: “Our retail customers are telling us that the latest issue they face is from organised retail crime, where criminals are targeting stores using sophisticated methods. What’s clear is that as the population of the country continues to grow and the flow of people around Europe continues to gather pace, stores will continue to be targeted by thieves.
“Shoplifters, whether its gangs or individuals, will always try and beat the system. At present, we’re seeing an increase in the number who try to avoid security antenna detecting tagged items. Fortunately, there are solutions that help retailers stay one step ahead of the criminals.”