Delegates at the ECR Europe annual conference in Glasgow were left stunned by research showing that the grocery industry is haemorrhaging a staggering 18bn euros each year through stock loss. The losses ­ also known as shrinkage ­ are caused by a combination of process errors (such as the destruction of stock before it's out of date), supplier fraud, theft by staff, and "external" theft. Retailers are losing out the most. The research shows the shrinkage cost them 13.4bn euros last year, which equates to 1.75% of the sector's entire turnover. Of that, 6.1bn euros was lost before the stock even made it to a store. The financial headache for the retail sector is made worse by the fact it is also spending 2.14bn euros trying to tackle shrinkage. Despite the sheer scale of the problem, ECR Europe's researchers found that retailers and manufacturers do not have the proper systems in place to identify, never mind prevent, stock loss. The researchers found that retailers and manufacturers are losing 192m euros a week without being able to say where, how or when that shrinkage is occurring. "Information on stock loss is shrouded in ignorance and hearsay. At best, company information on this problem is partial and incomplete and, at worst, non existent," says the report. Launching the publication, Gillette's customer development director Colin Peacock said it should serve as a wake up call for the industry. And he said it was vital that retailers and manufacturers collaborated on this front. "There are no easy answers," he added, "but there's an opportunity for us to work together to tackle this problem." {{NEWS }}