Annual Retail Theft Survey

Twenty-two major retailers lost more than $6 billion to shoplifters and dishonest employees in 2008, according to the 21st Annual Retail Theft Survey conducted by Jack L. Hayes International, a loss-prevention consulting firm.

On the upside, a record 904,226 thieves were apprehended, up 7.26 percent from 2007. Of them, 832,106 were shoplifters and 72,120 were dishonest employees, the survey says.

That breaks down to one in every 30 employees being apprehended for theft from their employer in 2008, based on more 2.1 million employees.

The survey found that more than $182 million was recovered, up 21.64 percent from the previous year. More than $113 million was recovered from shoplifters, while $69.8 million was recovered from employees.

“With the downturn in the economy, we have seen an increase in theft, which is having a detrimental impact on retailers’ bottom-line profits,” says Mark Doyle, president of Jack L. Hayes International. “These theft losses drive consumer prices higher and can force unprofitable stores to close.”

The average theft in 2008 was $202.28, up from $178.37 a year earlier.

The 22 retail companies participating in the survey had 19,151 stores and more than $570 billion in retail sales as of 2008.

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