Retailers to lose nearly $9B to shoplifting, fraud during holiday season

According to a new study conducted by the UK-based Centre for Retail Research, U.S. retailers are expected to lose 8.9 billion as a result of shoplifting and fraud this holiday shopping season, a four percent increase from 2011.

The study, which was funded by an independent study from loss prevention solutions provider Checkpoint Systems, found that employee theft was the biggest source of anticipated losses ($4.7 billion), followed by shoplifting ($3.8 billion) and vendor and distribution losses ($400 million).

"The Christmas season is an especially attractive time for criminals. Thieves take advantage of busy stores to steal high-value, high-demand goods. As a result, retailers face a big threat from professional and semi-professional thieves, many of whom steal goods with the intention of re-selling them," said Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research and author of the report. "Organized retail crime is a major concern for retailers – especially since the average amount stolen per incident is much higher than 'normal' thefts."

Among the 10 most stolen categories of goods targeted by thieves this year include:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Women’s clothing and fashion accessories
  3. Toys
  4. Perfume/health and beauty goods
  5. Electronic devices (smartphones, tablet computers, etc.)
  6. DVD gift sets and game consoles
  7. Food and Christmas decorations
  8. Electronic good (hardware)
  9. Watches and jewelry
  10. Chocolates and confectionery goods