Theft and fraud costing retailers billions of dollars each year

Media Release Tax/Economy

15 December 2014: With only ten days until Christmas, The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) urges all retailers to take a serious look at their loss prevention strategies.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said Christmas is not only the peak time for spending; it is also the peak time for theft and fraud.

“Theft is estimated to cost the Australian retail sector over $7.5 billion per year. It’s also important to note that retailers must add at least 3 percent cost to goods for the consumer so that retailers are able to recoup their losses.

“With less than two weeks before Christmas, retail precincts across Australia will be chaotic to say the least. Thieves certainly take advantage of busy stores at Christmas, meaning vigilant customer service and adequate staffing during busy periods is crucial to protect merchandise. Conducting bag checks is also essential, as is having a bag check policy that is clearly visible to all shoppers.

“It’s also a good idea to introduce security cameras and place hidden security tags or dye bombs on products regardless of price. Thieves are not always going for the expensive items – they will often opt for what is easiest to take. In fact, small everyday items are usually the most targeted such as razor blades, baby food, cosmetics and toys.

“Fraud is another major issue at this time of year. According to the Australian Payments Clearing Association (APCA), card not present (CNP) transaction fraud cost Australia over $86 million in the 1 July 2013 – 30 June 2014 financial year.

“It’s even more alarming to note that this figure only takes into account fraud within Australia – the total figure of all Australian cards being used for fraud (both within and outside of Australia) is a whopping $256 million.

“Retailers are well on their way to achieving $45 billion in pre-Christmas sales, but the industry must work together now more than ever to combat the high level of theft and fraud over the festive season,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $265 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. Visit or call 1300 368 041


For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman call the ARA Media Line T: 0439 612 556 or E:




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