The cost of living crisis has sparked a boom in ‘first time’ shoplifters, according to supermarket bosses.
Thefts have soared since the beginning of the year and are continuing to increase in the wake of price rises caused by the war in Ukraine which have left many consumers struggling to make ends meet.
As a result, retailers say theft levels are ‘off the charts so far this year’ according to analysts as well as anecdotal evidence from supermarket bosses to their trade journal, The Grocer.
The magazine said: ‘Store managers have told The Grocer of higher crime rates as they’re noticing ‘new first time shoplifters’ as opposed to ‘the usual suspects.”
Professional shoplifters tend to target high value goods they can sell on, such as alcohol, razors and other items but a new breed are stealing even the cheapest of products from the shelves, said The Grocer.
It added: ‘One store manager reported shoplifting starting to rise across everyday and low-value items ‘that you’d find in your weekly basket’ in contrast to the more regularly targeted luxury, high-cost items.’
Retail analyst, Bryan Roberts, of Shopfloor Insights said: ‘The situation is definitely getting worse’ and said the crime rate was ‘off the charts’.
Some shops have reintroduced the one-way entry and exit points that were around during Covid to help socially distance customers but are now there to make it easier to track who comes in and out.
Others have beefed up security in terms of personnel and/or CCTV cameras.
Read more: Cost-of-living crisis sparks boom in ‘first time’ shoplifters with supermarket bosses saying theft levels are ‘off the charts’