Mr. Nausch, what is currently the main reason for retail shrinkage in the German retail industry and how big are these losses for retailers?
Overall, retailers lose approximately 1.08 percent of retail sales. Shoplifters are still responsible for the biggest percentage of retail shrinkage. According to the current Retail Theft Barometer that was published in early November, this represents 65 percent of losses in Germany. One particular problem here is organized retail crime, meaning professional shoplifters who intend to turn the stolen merchandise into cash. According to the study, the upcoming Christmas shopping season proves to be a peak time for retail shrinkage.
Approximately 11 percent of losses are caused by dishonest employees – most frequently due to stealing cash at the point of sale. Crooked vendors and manufacturers are responsible for 5 percent of losses while 19 percent are attributed to administrative errors.
How did the situation change compared to the previous editions of the “Global Retail Theft Barometer“?
Germany is looking at quite a steady trend; retail shrinkage has slightly declined in the rest of Europe. However, global analysis of participants who have participated multiple times in the study has shown a significant increase in retail shrinkage from 0.94 percent of retail sales to 1.23 percent. Overall you could, therefore, say that retail shrinkage continues to be a serious problem that puts additional pressure on the margins of brick-and-mortar retailers.
Which products are stolen most frequently?
All-time favorites primarily include branded merchandise that is expensive yet small and can be easily concealed. The spectrum ranges from classic shoplifted items like razor blades to trendy electronics, smartphones, power tools, fashion accessories and clothing articles all the way to premium foods and spirits. We know from experience that it is essential to not damage the packaging when you steal the merchandise. The items can only be resold on the Internet or other channels if the products are in immaculate condition and the original packaging.