EHI publishes study on inventory discrepancies in German retail

July 2, 2024

Shoplifting has been a concern for retailers for as long as it has existed. Organised and commercial shoplifting in particular has caused some painful losses for the retail trade in recent years. losses in some cases. In 2023, the already high level of shoplifting in Germany has risen by a further 15 per cent. “The increase in thefts in 2022 still represented a return to the ‘normality’ of the pre-corona period. However, a turning point has now been reached where the increase in shoplifting takes on a special dimension and requires requires special attention,” explains Frank Horst, author of the study and long-standing specialist for inventory discrepancies at EHI.

Economic damage

Inventory discrepancies* have risen by almost 5 per cent overall and amount to 4.8 billion euros. This includes the proportion of losses theft from customers, employees, suppliers and service personnel totalled service personnel totalled 4.1 billion euros. This corresponds to economic damage due to lost sales tax of around of around 560 million euros due to offences committed by dishonest offences committed by dishonest customers. 700 million can be attributed to organisational organisational deficiencies such as incorrect price labelling, recording and valuation errors.

Share of inventory differences

Of the 4.1 billion euros in shoplifting, around 2.82 billion euros are attributablebillion euros are attributable to customers, 910 million euros to the company’s employees and 370 million euros to the staff of suppliers and serviceand service companies. Statistically speaking, this means that every German citizen accounts for around 34 euros worth of unpaid goods every year, that is not paid for. In other words, every 200th shopping trolley passes through the checkout trolley passes through the checkout unpaid.

Increase in shoplifting

According to police crime statistics, shoplifting has increased by 23.6per cent to a total of 426,096 cases (previous year 344,669). Bothboth simple and serious shoplifting** have increased. The latter has reached an all-time high with 27,452 reported cases. However, not every case of shoplifting is reported. From the the average loss of all reported thefts and the loss of goodstheft and the loss of goods in the retail trade determined by the inventory24 million shoplifting offences worth 117 euros each go undetected every year remain undetected, which corresponds to around 100,000 shopliftings per sales day.per sales day.

Sector comparison

While in food retailing, drugstores and clothing retail the percentage inventory clothing retailers, the percentage inventory differences increased,DIY stores were able to maintain their level and all other sectors even inventory differences and all other sectors were even able to reduce them.


*Inventory differences include theft by customers, employees, suppliers or service personnel service personnel and organisational deficiencies

**Serious shoplifting: Aggravated theft occurs, for example, when the stolen goods stolen goods are protected by a locked container such as a display case or anotheranother protective device, e.g. a article surveillance system, to prevent theft and is not of low value. Often alsoGang thefts.

Data basis: The current study 84 companies or sales channels with a total of 17,426 points of sale17,426 sales outlets that generated a total turnover of around 82.8 billion euros.euros. The average sales area of the participatingparticipating shops is 1,190 square metres.

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