Staff steal €167m from employers every year
SHOPWORKERS in Ireland steal €167m of goods from their employers each year.
Irish retailers are losing nearly half a billion euro of goods a year through thieving and wastage, and more than a third of that is stolen by their own staff, international retail crime experts told a conference in Dublin yesterday.
And store owners are so fixated on catching shoplifters that they often ignore the issue of internal theft by staff.
Around 37pc of retail "shrinkage" -- loss of stock -- in Ireland is from internal theft, 41pc is from external theft and the remainder is lost through damage and other problems.
But some retailers are very keen to blame "outsiders", and particularly foreigners for their losses, ignoring the high level of theft by their own employees, the conference held by retail body Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) heard.
"It's easier to blame this on an outsider, and focus on hi-tech solutions such as CCTV to try and stop it rather than facing up to the fact that someone you hired might be ripping you off," Adrian Beck of the Department of Criminology in the University of Leicester said.
In Ireland, stores lose around 1.38pc of sales or €453m to crime and waste, according to the new Global Retail Theft Barometer, which surveyed 21 retailers in Ireland and hundreds more worldwide to assess the scale of losses in 2009.
It also showed 38pc of retailers in Ireland experienced an increase in shoplifting last year, believed to be down to the recession. Mr Beck said it was crucial that stores examined their systems carefully to analyse where the losses were occurring and take preventative action.
This could include measures like verifying that all deliveries were complete, as a lot of stock could be disappearing at the back door, before it even made it to the shelves.
Superquinn trading director and ECR co-chair James Wilson said they were cracking down on internal theft via regular stocktakes, background checks and tougher action, including dismissal, against anyone caught thieving.
"It's not on to stop and search staff as it would be terrible for morale, and dangerous if done the wrong way, but you have to . . . take action to show thieving will not be tolerated," he said.
Shopworkers' union Mandate said the figures showed theft was no worse in Ireland than elsewhere, and unlike in other countries, it was not increasing dramatically here.