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November 28, 2009

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China loses US$1b from retail thefts

ANNUAL losses from retail theft in China reached US$1 billion for the first time, according to a global survey, and industry officials said Chinese retailers need to invest more on security systems and equipment.

Between July 2008 and June this year, losses from shrinkage and theft in the Chinese retail industry worsened 3.9 percent to US$1 billion, accounting for 1.06 percent of total retail sales, according to the survey of the Center for Retail Research, an independent global organization. The losses mainly occurred in the apparel, food and electronic sectors.

In China, shoplifting to the tune of US$517 million was the major source of retailers suffering losses. Other factors included employee theft and supplier fraud, according to the survey, which covered 46 Chinese mainland retailers operating 992 outlets.

Globally, retail theft rose 5.9 percent from a year ago to total US$114.8 billion in the period, according to the survey sponsored by security firm Checkpoint.

"Retailers (globally) attribute one third of the increase in shoplifting to the economic recession," said Joshua Bamfield, the center's director.

Checkpoint, which supplies electronic tags to clients such as BestBuy and Metro in China, encouraged retailers to invest in security as it would save them costs.

"It's time (for retailers) to react because the investment (on security) will help them save costs," said Ken Ng, Checkpoint China's managing director.


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