Australian retail staff the biggest thieves in the world

The struggling retail industry is being hit from within, with a new study showing Australian retail staff have stolen up to $3 billion worth of goods.

The struggling retail industry is being hit from within, with a new study showing Australian retail staff have stolen up to $3 billion worth of goods.

The second annual Global Retail Theft Barometer reveals Australian retailers are victim of the world’s worst employee theft and fraud levels. Retail operators say employee theft is a greater problem than shoplifting.

The survey reveals retailers lose between 2% to 5% of the value of new products due to theft, or “shrinkage loss.” Products most coveted are razor blades, electronics, mobile phones, watches, make-up and alcohol.

According to the survey, compiled by the British-based Centre for Retail Research and published by Checkpoint Systems, each Australian household is paying more than $420 a year on average to make up the shortfall.

But Checkpoint managing director Mark Gentle says it is a big burden for consumers.

“It’s a big number in a very tough economic climate,” he says.

“At the end of the day, the ownership comes back to the retailer. You will hear comments that shrinkage is a cost of doing business – but that ignores the cost of the average consumer. If there’s theft, someone has to pay for it.

“What the Australian retailers have done very well have combated theft on the external side. Compared to 2007, they’ve managed to reduce external theft by 1.05%.

“But internal theft has increased. So the challenge now is finding out what processes to fix.”

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