The UK retail industry continued to spend around £2 billion on loss prevention solutions – the equivalent of 0.58% of overall sector sales – in 2014, according to new research.

Of the retailers surveyed in the annual Global Retail Theft Barometer, which is underwritten by an independent grant from Checkpoint Systems, the majority use CCTV/DVR, security guards, and alarm monitoring solutions. Three in four respondents report that they use each of these tools as part of their loss prevention strategies.

Some 63% of retailers use Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS), including labels and hard tags/EAS antenna solutions, while 38% said that make use of spider wraps and security keepers. Meanwhile, shelving solutions to control product access were also used by 38% of the UK retailers questioned for the research.

Russell Holland, global accounts director at Checkpoint Systems, said: "Our retail customers are telling us that the latest issue they face is from organised retail crime, where criminals are targeting stores using sophisticated methods.

"Shoplifters, whether its gangs or individuals, will always try and beat the system. At present, we're seeing an increase in the number who try to avoid security antenna detecting tagged items."

Other key points from the Global Theft Barometer:

  • UK retailers lost more than £3.1 billion worth of inventory in 2014, equating to 0.89% of total retail sales.
  • UK retailers saw £770 million stolen by employees and a further £300 million lost as a result of supplier errors.
  • Official police data shows that there were more than 329,000 incidents of shoplifting in the UK.

When analysing shrinkage, which comprises shoplifting, employee theft, supplier and administrative errors, as a percentage of sales, the UK ranked fifth best behind Norway, Switzerland, France and Poland. However, due to the size of the UK retail industry, the study indicated that stores actually lost the sixth most globally, by value, behind the US, Japan, Russia, Germany and China.

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