Retailers cautioned on Christmas

 

Shopping bagJust days out from Christmas, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is urging retailers to take a serious look at their loss prevention strategies.

Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the ARA, said Christmas is not only the peak time for spending, but it is also the peak time for theft and fraud.

According to the ARA, theft is estimated to cost the Australian retail sector more than $7.5 billion per year.

“It’s important to note that retailers must add at least three per cent cost to goods for the consumer so that retailers are able to recoup their losses,” Zimmerman said.

“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 more than $86 million in the July 1, 2013 – June 30, 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,” Zimmerman said.

This year, Australian shoppers are predicted to spend $45 billion in pre-Christmas sales from November 5 until December 24, representing a 4.3 per cent gain during the same period in 2013.

According to the latest Christmas spending projections released by the Australian National Retailers’ Association (ANRA) this week, more than $8.3 billion is expected to be spent nationally this week with the average family anticipated to spend about $1,060 on Christmas preparations including gifts, food, liquor, and dining.

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