Gender play in retail shrinkage

According to the latest in-depth retail crime research report, not only do more men end up in prison for shoplifting and staff theft, but they are predominantly older, more organised and are often stealing higher value goods to order which explodes the myth of store theft being a largely opportunistic and 'harmless' offence carried out for a dare or an adrenalin kick.

The independent research carried out by the influential Centre for Retail Research (CRR) shows that there is not much to differentiate between the amounts stolen by men and women - averaging £83 per offence, but as they get older the gap widens. For example between the peak ages of 21 and 23 men steal an average of £163.64, compared to £92.84 for women, although female retail crime tends to carry on longer.

Again, small-scale theft account for less than one third of the total customer theft while around 22 per cent is theft of items of more than £500. In gender terms what people steal is a differentiator with women targeting clothes, grocery, perfumery, toiletries and health products with men cornering the electronic black market with TVs, hairdryers, electrical toothbrushes and power tools on their shopping lists as well as hardware, DIY and CDs.


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