Shoplifting is costing us billions

November 9, 2012
Shoplifting is costing us billions
Dr. Gary Mortimer says shoplifting is costing Australia more than $10 billion a year.

(—Australians shoplifted $7.5 billion worth of goods in the past financial year, but a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researcher said the actual cost was much higher.

QUT School of Business researcher Dr Gary Mortimer said when costs associated with trying to prevent shoplifting were factored in, shoplifting cost retailers at least $10 billion in the last year alone.

He said the value of goods shoplifted had risen steady since 2007 when $4 billion worth of goods were stolen.

"Shoplifting is literally costing billions as both the cost of lost goods and the cost of counter theft measures are generally passed on to consumers," Dr Mortimer said.

"Many stores have now labelled goods covertly with alarms so they are activated as a shoplifter goes through an electronic gate on their way out of the store.

"More have been installed in shopping aisles, too, but the biggest cost is the employment of what are called loss prevention officers, staff who walk around the store spotting potential shoplifters."

Dr Mortimer said other hidden costs included loss of sales and the time it takes staff to prepare paperwork associated with shoplifting as well as increased insurance premiums.

He said there was no specific profile for a shoplifter.

"Shoplifters come in all shapes, sizes and ages, from school children to the elderly," he said.

"Shoplifters are motivated by a range of things from the opportunist who walks out of a store with an item because a counter is unattended, to kids who shoplift as a dare to the habitual shoplifter who steals probably each week.

"Then there are the professional gangs at work who steal large volumes of goods and sell them interstate, on or at markets."

Dr Mortimer said also appeared to play a part in the increase.

"As the cost of living increases some people feel they need to steal to put food on the table and petrol in the tank," he said.

Explore further: Study Shows Shoplifters More Readily Identified By Behavior, Not Race

Related Stories

EBay calls on EU to change luxury brand rules

September 17, 2009

(AP) -- EBay Inc. called Thursday on the European Union to change antitrust rules that allow luxury manufacturers to choose who can sell their branded goods online.

Recommended for you

Science: Public interest high, literacy stable

October 28, 2016

While public interest in science continues to grow, the level of U.S. scientific literacy remains largely unchanged, according to a survey by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.

Experts uncover hidden layers of Jesus' tomb site

October 27, 2016

In the innermost chamber of the site said to be the tomb of Jesus, a restoration team has peeled away a marble layer for the first time in centuries in an effort to reach what it believes is the original rock surface where ...

Important ancient papyrus seized from looters in Israel

October 27, 2016

(—Eitan Klein, a representative of the Israel Antiquities Authority, has announced that an important papyrus document dated to 2,700 years ago has been seized from a group of Palestinian looters who reportedly ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Nov 10, 2012
Well... It is a penal colony after all. LOL

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.