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Shop Lifting

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VB RANCH

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Cattle prices at historic levels have produced an increase in cattle rustling, but beef is just as attractive to thieves at the other end of the food system. According to research by Adweek, pricey beef items such as filet mignon are ranked at the top of the list of the most shoplifted items at retail in America.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the loss rate for “luxury meat” has risen by 21 percent between 2009 and 2011. “Many police believe (beef) is the most common item stolen from grocery stores and supermarkets,” the DOJ says.

Another new study indicates the most shoplifted food in the world is cheese. The United Kingdom’s Center for Retail Research surveyed 1,187 retailers representing more than 250,000 retail outlets in 43 countries and found that 4 percent of cheese was stolen.

Shoplifting has become so prevalent that one in every 11 people who enter a retail store are likely to leave with at least one item they didn’t pay for. That amounts to estimated losses for retailers of $119 billion this year.

Research into shoplifting also indicates 75 percent of shoplifters are adults – most with jobs. And 35 percent of losses will occur with the aid of a corrupt employee.

Adweek reports shoplifting is up six percent compared to last year – and many experts predict retailers will see record losses by year’s end.

“Our shrinkage rate is the highest it’s been in five years,” Michael C. Creedon, North American vice president of retail sales for ADT Commercial Security told Adweek. “The economic environment has led to stealing for need-based purposes.”

Retail beef prices are 9 to 10 percent higher this year, which further encourages shoplifting by some consumers.

Higher retail food prices, however, don’t necessarily explain the second most popular item on shoplifter’s lists – Irish whiskey. Expensive liquors account for 2.9 percent of what retailers call their “shrinkage rate.”

The rest of Adweek’s top 10 list includes:

3. Electric tools – the most common items are electric toothbrushes and power tools.

4. Electronic gadgetry, such as smartphones, video games and laptops.

5. Shaving products, which account for over 2.7 percent of store losses.

6. AXE deodorants and body washes.

7. Designer apparel, such as Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.

8. Let’s Rock Elmo, the furry red Muppet’s new product, sold at Toys”R”Us.

9. Chanel No.5 and other expensive fragrances that account for nearly 4 percent of store losses.

10. Brand name athletic shoes such as Nike.
 

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