UK retailers lost almost £5bn through a combination of shoplifting, fraud and administrative lapses over the past year.

The figure represents an increase of more than 6% on the previous yearly period. More than a third of the £4.9bn lost over the previous 12 months was due to theft by staff, with a further 44% due to theft by customers.

The latest Global Retail Theft Barometer was calculated by the Centre for Retail Research for Checkpoint Systems.

“The fact retail loss has increased so significantly should certainly not be taken lightly,” said Neil Matthews of Checkpoint.

“It’s extremely worrying that the actions of some people can end up affecting innocent families financially, which is a cost the majority of people can ill-afford in this tough economic climate.”

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