If you’re a retailer, then you’ll know that any stock loss and shrinkage is bad for the bottom line; if you don’t have it then you can’t sell it. You’ll also be aware that one of the most common causes of stock shrinkage is through your products and items being stolen, whether by in-store thieves or by unscrupulous members of staff.
It’s a problem that continues to blight UK retailers and one that has shown no signs of abating in recent years, despite colossal figures being invested to prevent the problem…
The money spent on prevention is at an all-time high
It’s safe to say that UK retailers are trying to be as proactive as possible in tackling theft in stores and warehouses, whether that be through investment in people, processes or technology; the Annual Retail Crime Survey by the BRC revealed that for the first time, UK businesses had spent more than £1 billion on efforts to prevent crime. While only a small growth on the previous year’s figure of £995 million, it is nearly four times the figure for 2015-16.
The direct cost of crime is however rising substantially
The direct cost of crime to the retail industry was £900 million, an increase of 28% on the previous year. The BRC states that these numbers are an under-representation of the true costs, as they do not include the indirect cost of retail crime, such as additional staff time or investment in profit protection.
Customer theft is by far the biggest factor — but other areas are growing rapidly
Customer theft remains by far the largest area of loss, now accounting for just over £660 million of the £900 million figure — a 33% growth on the previous year. However, other types of loss are growing, including £163 million lost to fraud (an 8% growth) and criminal damage costing £3.4 million (a 6% growth).
Supermarkets are not immune to the rise in shoplifting
Incidents of shoplifting in our supermarkets rose by nearly 8% between 2014 and 2017. The BRC has stated that both consumers and owners bore the cost, while austerity cuts and reduced number of police officers on our stress over the last decade have made it less likely for the police to respond.
Where does stocktaking fit in?
Stocktaking is all about increasing profit on the bottom line for retail businesses. A large part of that is early identification of potential causes of stock loss; as we said at the beginning of this post, if you don’t know it’s gone, then you won’t be able to sell it or address it. Stocktaking gives you the information you need in order to identify where stock is being lost and take the right preventative measures to minimise it as much as possible going forward.
If you’d like to talk to us about improving your retail stocktaking then visit https://www.abacusvaluers.co.uk/our-stocktaking-services or call our team on 01637 874609.