According to the latest research carried out by Checkpoint Systems, U.K. retailers are losing a staggering £11 billion every year due to shoplifting, internal theft and food wastage.

The results revealed in the ‘Retail Security in Europe: Going beyond Shrinkage’ report, discovered that the U.K. is actually faring worse than any other country across Europe when it comes to experiencing significant losses that could be avoided. And, what’s more, all of this is occurring despite the fact that U.K. retailers are spending a huge £3.09 billion on security measures.

The report stated that across Europe, a whopping £43.6 billion per year is lost in this way, meaning that in a continent of 44 countries, the U.K. accounts for more than one-quarter of all losses. This is as incredible as it is concerning.

A problem across industries

The grocery sector – largely because many of the items it sells are perishable – is the industry that suffers the most with unnecessary losses. According to the report, almost one-fifth of all losses – approximately £2.1 billion – occur each year in retail outlets or warehouses. 

However, the issue is by no means isolated to stores dealing in groceries. The clothing sector also faces huge losses each year, with the report estimating that around £780 million-worth of apparel is stolen from retailers up and down the country. 

The study found that items such as small accessories and knitwear were the most likely items to be pinched, largely because they can be worn by the thief while they are in the store, making it very difficult to know if an item is in the process of being pilfered, or was in fact worn by the would-be thief when they initially entered the store.


The comprehensive report also highlighted the methods most frequently used by criminals to get items for free, with micro-gangs consisting of two or three criminals the most common cause. It is hoped that by shining a spotlight on the significance of the issue, retailers will be better prepared to prevent theft going forward.

The report also found that:

– More than half of retailers (54%) believe that incidents of shoplifting are on the rise
– Many retailers believe that the introduction of self-serve checkouts has given criminals more opportunity to steal items
– Only 17% of retailers are confident that theft levels are decreasing

With the retail sector going through a very difficult period, it has never been more essential to cut losses wherever possible and ensure that theft levels are minimised.