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The Shoplifters' Hit Parade - The Most Stolen Merchandise
Thieves will steal almost anything that you sell. If it is worth holding in stock, it is probably worth someone's time to deprive you of it. Some people steal to re-sell (so if it is not popular, they don't steal it), other steal for their own use, some steal that extra luxury. Although a single thief might only try to steal between five and ten items, there are probably one-half million people who shoplift at least once per year so the range of choice for them is almost infinite.
So the Most-Shoplifted List is Very Long Indeed
This list focuses more on general categories that suffer heavy loss rather than specific product lines.
- Alcohol, mainly well-known spirits, particularly whisky, vodka, with rum-based spirits becoming more important as they become more popular. Beer and cider are also stolen from shops.
- Cosmetics, perfume, makeup, lotions, hair treatment, shampoo, skin creams, and sun-tan lotion.
- Razor/ shaving requisites: this has been the No. 1 for many years but is now losing its place because of new security systems and display limitation.
- Clothing accessories, handbags, leather goods, earrings, scarves, etc: often small expensive and very desirable things.
- Coffee (in other countries, coffee and tea).
- Meat and cheese. There is growing interest in the more expensive cheese such as parmesan.
- Electrical goods, electrical accessories like headphones, computer mouse(s?), data sticks, electrical health & Beauty (shavers, toothbrushes), electronic medical equipment, batteries of all kinds.
- Smartphones, iPhones
- Jeans, branded items, childrenswear, men and women's clothing
- Sport fashion, branded items, trainers/sports shoes, club strips.
- Electronic games and gaming devices.
- Vitamins, self-medication, diet products.
- Watches and jewellery
Some other points:
- In a normal UK supermarket there may be more than 35,000 product lines and 100,000 in a department store. They do not normally publish information of losses by line or by category, but even if thieves prey only on 1.0% of their products this would be a list of 350 items and 1,000 products respectively.
- Grocery accounts for between 40% and 50% of retail sales of most countries, so any Shoplifters' Hit Parade will always look like the most desirable products sold by supermarkets.
- Thieves often focus on a relatively small number of product lines in high-demand, such as razor blades, cosmetics, fashion accessories and alcohol.
- Many quite mundane products like cheap deodorant, toothpaste, biscuits, frozen foods, snacks, and cans of beer are stolen as part of much larger shopping/stealing expeditions or trolley 'push-throughs', presumably for personal use or to provide camouflage against observant staff.