Holiday shoplifting could cost paying customers this year

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Christmas is just 18 days away, but as shoppers swarm stores looking for the perfect gift, some are trying to get out the door without paying. Know More about the big economic impact of shoplifting this holiday season.

For many stores, shoppers with sticky fingers are a year round problem. It may just be a coincidence, but authorities say in the last few months of the year, shoplifting numbers tend to go up. Stores may want to keep an extra eye out based on holiday shoplifting predictions.

Unfortunately some stores have to be on the lookout for shoplifting more than they'd like, as no store is immune from being the victim of a shoplifter.

"We have a problem with a few shoplifters all year long," Sportsman’s Warehouse assistant hunting manager Don Tyre said.

“We often get called out to our larger stores in the area, some of the big box stores that sell all types of items," Grand Junction Police spokesperson Kate Porras said.

This holiday season, all stores might want to keep a closer eye on their shelves. The Centre for Retail Research predicts U.S. retailers will lose $3.8 billion this holiday season from the five-finger discount.

"The last year, the months of October, November and December were some of the highest months of shoplifting incidents," Porras said.

The Grand Junction Police Department shows 70 to 80 shoplifting incidents in the last few months of 2011, as opposed to 40-60 incidents in February and March of 2012.

"I think it's just the sheer number of people that are out and the shoplifters can kind of hide amongst a lot of shoppers," Crossroads Wine and Spirits owner Jerry Sica said.

For some like Sica, cameras and extra vigilant employees can make a huge difference when it comes to preventing theft.

"I think what really disarms the shoplifters in this store is we talk to everybody," Sica said.

Whether it's clothes, food or fishing flies, shoplifting affects all shoppers.

"We have to adjust pricing because of it," Tyre said.

In that same survey by the Centre for Retail Research, the loss in revenue can add up for paying customers to the tune of $98 per family.

The report also found retailers would see the largest lost from employee theft of about $4.7 billion and an addition loss of $400 million from vendors and distributors during the holiday season.

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