€480m in shop stock stolen last year
THIEVES stole €480m worth of goods from shops last year, according to a new survey.
This compared to €453m in 2010 and €380m in 2005.
Retail Ireland, the representative group attached to the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), said the figures only told part of the story -- the resulting security spend by shopkeepers had made the financial drain even worse.
"This is something that we don't tend to examine -- by its nature it's an illegal act and therefore difficult to quantify," said its director, Stephen Lynam.
Cheese and raw meat were the most popular items for shoplifters.
The survey of 40 retailers was published by the Centre for Retail Research (CRR) in Nottingham, England as part of its overall Global Retail Theft Barometer.
The increasing frequency of theft will lead to concerns that the cost is ultimately passed on to consumers.
"They (retailers) have to increase security in their stores so the cost outlined in that survey is only half the story. It doesn't count the increase in security," said Mr Lynam.
"Grocery items which you wouldn't think are of great value are now stolen. If you talk about supermarkets, packets of rashers for some reason have always been popular with shoplifters -- and cheese."
Security tags, once the reserve of expensive clothes shops, are now commonly found on a variety of food items.
Professor Joshua Bamfield, an economist at the CRR, said that even organised crime was focusing on such basic items to sell on the black market.
"Shoplifting used to be linked to people stealing to feed their drug habit but now it is for economic reasons," he said.