Theft costs retailers billions in 2012

WASHINGTON – It might be called the five-finger discount, but it costs retailers billions.

Last year alone, stores worldwide lost more than $112 billion in inventory due to theft, according to the 2012-2013 Global Retail Theft Barometer.

While some of the losses can be blamed on employees or supplier fraud, shoplifting is the leading cause of the losses, a study by retail security firm Checkpoint Systems and market research company Euromonitor finds.

Retailers point to sluggish economic recoveries and organized retail crime for the whopping losses, CNBC reports.

The numbers come from of a survey of 157 companies in 16 countries covering 160,000 stores and generating sales of more than $1.5 trillion last year. Products stolen ranges from jewelry and lingerie to Apple products and baby formula.

Brazil and Mexico recorded the highest shrink rates (1.6 percent), followed closely by the U.S. and China (1.5 percent).

WTOP’s Brennan Haselton contributed to this report. Follow @bhaseltonWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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