holiday shoplifting surge

Five reasons for a holiday shoplifting surge

Retailers might be primed to enjoy a $727.9 billion windfall this holiday season but the stark reality is some of the gloss will be taken off the festive period due to an uptick in shoplifting and loss.

In fact, winter and in particular the holiday season is the prime time for retail theft in the USA. It’s estimated almost half of all retail theft (46 per cent) occurs in winter, while the Global Retail Theft Barometer notes 81 per cent of that is during the holiday period.

So why does shoplifting surge during holidays, and how can retailers stem the loss?

Extra traffic

With the holiday season comes extra foot traffic, which is something that retailers both hope for and actively court. The holidays delivers 10 of the busiest shopping days of the year, with 42 per cent of all holiday foot traffic occurring on these dates alone.

That sees the stores crowded, and with crowding comes more opportunity for theft.

Loss prevention tip

Know and plan for your busiest days, hiring additional staff, with some dedicated to purely to loss prevention.

Busy staff

As retailers seek to offer their customer an exceptional customer experience in a crowded and busy environment, it can be easy for staff to become distracted from focussing on loss.

In most cases staff will be so busy completing sales transactions, handling customer inquiries and replenishing stock they will have little opportunity to watch customers for the signs of suspicious behaviour.

Meanwhile, they have more people to watch than normal, due to the rise in foot traffic.

Loss prevention tip

Employ technology like Electronic Article Surveillance. Staff may be too busy to watch the floor, but security tags, labels and antenna never get distracted from their job of protecting individual items against theft.

Chaotic stores

Busiest shopping days

With sales and increased foot traffic comes a less organized retail environment. Stock has to be quickly replenished, items get returned to the wrong place by customers, and sales tables and areas are crowded with products.

This creates additional opportunity for shoplifters, who are more likely to have a sense of security that an item won’t be missed, and staff are less likely to notice them take it in the busy and crowded environment.

Loss prevention tip

Where possible, keep the store as neat, tidy and organized as you can. Ensure all replenished stock is fitted with security tags and labels, and do not position sales tables too close to the doors where there is more potential for snatch and grab theft.

Colder weather

The simple fact the weather is colder also ramps up the potential for loss. That’s because customers tend to wear bulkier clothing, which can more readily conceal stolen items.

Loss prevention tip

Train your staff in the signs of suspicious shoplifting behaviour, and have a firm policy on bag checks if appropriate in your area. CCTV can also be invaluable in identifying shoplifting as its occurring, while assisting with a prosecution after the fact.

Personal need

In addition to increased opportunity, one of the major drivers of the holiday shoplifting increase is personal need.

While some shoplifters steal because they can, others do for pure financial gain or because they feel they need to.

The holiday season sees an increase in shoplifting for these reasons, and for some that will see them take increased risks to achieve their aim.

Necessities are likely to be the targeted items by those enduring financial hardship, but the big-ticket items like electronics are more likely to be stolen for major financial gain especially when it comes to organized retail crime.

Loss prevention tip

Employ product specific loss prevention strategies. In addition to CCTV and EAS, utilise strategies which specifically cater to the item likely to be stolen.

For electronics that may mean having a locked down display, with further items secured in locked cabinets. Meanwhile, necessities like razors might be best secured with stop locks.

Looking to bolster your EAS security?

If you’re looking to improve your EAS security with additional security tags, pins and labels over the busy period ahead, you can select and order tags directly here or labels directly here. Alternatively, our friendly customer service staff are also available to assist.