Distribution centre employees ‘responsible for £1.4bn’ of retail theft losses

UK retail theft losses are set to reach £7.9 billion in 2023, with around £1.4 billion linked to distribution centre (DC) employees, new research suggests.

The research by security company Thruvision and consultancy Retail Economics, which surveyed 100 managers and directors responsible for loss prevention at large UK retailers, found that shoppers accounted for 60 per cent of the value of the theft total – £4.7 billion – while employees working in DCs and stores accounted for 40 per cent or £3.2 billion.

Thruvision said theft in DCs is the employee crime that is most under-reported by retailers with 42.6 per cent – £1.4 billion – of the total employee theft from DCs.

It added that 70 per cent of those surveyed who saw seen an increase in employee theft over the past year said they had seen an increase in organised crime in DCs.

The research also found that two thirds of retailers believe that over the past decade the opportunity for crime in DCs had accelerated.

"That employee theft is a rapidly growing problem is not a surprise, but the scale of financial losses suffered by UK retailers in their distribution centres really is,” said Thruvision chief executive Colin Evans. “What is even more surprising is that so few retailers seem to be prepared to deal with this very serious problem when proven technology solutions exist - only one in six retailers are investing in detection and deterrence technology to solve distribution centre theft.”

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