Despite all security measures, products disappear – with an average value of 28 euros per German citizen. The reasons for inventory differences range from stolen to losen to broken products.

The EHI Retail Institute has taken a closer look at the inventory differences in the German retail sector. According to the study, the total loss amount rose slightly last year to 4.1 billion euros (2016: 4 billion euros). The thefts accounted for the lion’s share. Dishonest customers caused a loss of 2.28 billion euros. Employees stole goods for around 850 million euros and service staff for 320 million euros. According to EHI experts, the impressive sum of 660 million euros is due to organizational shortcomings such as false product awards. While the total amount of damage has increased, the number of shopliftings reported has fallen. Around 332,000 simple shopliftings were reported in 2017, more than 6.6 percent fewer than in the previous year. For the first time since 2007, the number of reported grand thefts also decreased – by more than 6.5 percent to 21,000 cases.

Very high number of unreported cases among those responsible for inventory differences

A higher loss amount with fewer cases reported at the same time – for the experts, the reason is clear. “In part, the decline is due to the prolonged opening of stores with a simultaneously lower personnel presence. The shop hours were extended – but the use of department store detectives was not adjusted,” says Frank Horst, Head of Inventory Differences + Security at EHI. This means that many shopliftings and thus the reasons for inventory discrepancies remain undiscovered. The German Trade Association HDE estimates the number of unreported cases to be at least 98 percent. For this reason, CEO Stefan Genth calls for a more effective fight. “Now it is a matter of further accelerating the downward trend, especially in the number of serious shopliftings. Therefore, the pact for the rule of law contained in the coalition agreement must be implemented quickly in the federal states so that the police and judiciary are better equipped. In order to achieve its goals, the HDE has launched the initiative “Stop Shoplifting”.

HDE calls for more consistent prosecution for serious shoplifting

Only with sufficient personnel can a more consistent punishment of armed shoplifters or shoplifters organised in gangs be permanently imposed in practice. In addition, the HDE calls for more consistent prosecution of serious shoplifting. Because many dealers did not file a complaint any more in view of the low educational rate. Instead, they rely on technology and personnel to avoid inventory discrepancies. Every year, retailers invest around 1.3 billion euros in measures such as alarm systems, video surveillance and store detectives. Visible and deterrent measures such as cameras are particularly important. However, employees are also being made more aware of this in order to curb shoplifting.


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Link: An analysis by the EHI Retail Institute sheds light on the reasons for inventory differences

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