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Holiday shrink to cost retailers $8.9 billion; alcohol tops list of most stolen goods

Thorofare, N.J. -- Retailers in the United States are expected to lose $8.9 billion over the holiday season as a result of shoplifting, dishonest employees and vendor or distribution losses, according to a new study released by the Centre for Retail Research. In total, the losses could represent a 4% increase over the same period last year.

The report, funded by an independent grant from Checkpoint Systems, found that American retailers could lose $3.8 billion through shoplifting, $4.7 billion through employee theft, and $400 million through vendor and distribution losses.

“The Christmas season is an especially attractive time for criminals,” said Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research and author of the report. “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.”  

The “Shoplifting for Christmas 2012”' report also revealed the product categories most likely to be stolen over the Christmas period. They are:

  1. Alcohol products;
  2. Women's clothing and fashion accessories;
  3. Toys;
  4. Perfume and health &beauty gift packs;
  5. Electronic devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, toiletries for men;
  6. DVD gift sets and game consoles;
  7. Food and Christmas decorations;
  8. Electrical goods including hardware/DIY;
  9. Watches and jewelry; and
  10. Chocolates and confectionery.
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