Economic losses in Quebec retail businesses, 2008-2009

MONTREAL, Oct. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - At a news conference held today, the Conseil québécois du commerce de détail/Retail Council of Quebec (CQCD) released the results of a biennial survey on economic losses incurred by Quebec retail businesses. The survey, conducted by Altus Géocom on behalf of the CQCD, covers chains and independent retailers but excludes automobile dealers.

- Levels of retail losses

In 2008-2009, Quebec's retail sector registered annual economic losses of nearly $900 million. Basic consumer goods* represent the greatest losses, estimated at nearly $600 million per year. Semi-durable and durable goods** are in second place, with annual losses of over $200 million.

- Sources of the losses

Theft and fraud by employees account for 37% of the losses incurred, while 35% are attributable to shoplifting. Consumer fraud constitutes 12% of the losses. Administrative errors and supplier fraud or errors also represent 12%.

- Characteristics and motivation of retail thieves

The majority of retail thieves are adults, 59% men and 30% women. Adolescents (aged 13-17) make up 10% of the perpetrators. Personal use of the item stolen is the main motive for shoplifting (46%) and internal theft (51%). Gang affiliation is the motive for 9% of acts of shoplifting and 5% of internal thefts.

- Cyber fraud

Among those retailers (49%) that offer their customers the opportunity to purchase goods through their Internet site, 74% were victims of credit-card fraud and13% experienced other types of fraud.

- Prevention tools used

Human prevention measures

Human prevention measures used by retailers include employee training/awareness (87%), bag checks (77 %), control or monitoring of receipt of goods (66%) and "mystery" shoppers (51%).

Physical prevention measures

Safes are still one of the methods most widely used by retailers (89%), followed by cables, locks, chains, etc. (53%), anti-theft signs (51%) and surveillance mirrors (45%).

Electronic prevention measures

Traditional alarm systems (92%) and closed-circuit cameras (79%) are still retailers' first and second choices for electronic theft-prevention measures. Anti-theft tags are in third place, at 62%, and security devices for merchandise displays are used by 47% of retailers.

In the next twelve (12) months, retailers intend to focus on employee training/awareness (17%), the addition of anti-theft tags (13%), and the use of safes and bag checks (11%), as effective prevention tools.

- Increase in the number of incidents

Overall, 54% of retailers estimate that the number of incidents has increased, which is 10% more than in 2007. Moreover, the average value of the goods lost through shoplifting is $227, nearly $100 higher than in 2007 ($138.50), for an increase of 64%.

"Prevention is still the best way to combat this scourge. To that end, a shoplifting awareness campaign aimed at the public at large can have a positive impact in the short and medium terms, as this is a costly problem that concerns us all and we can see that the incidence of theft has increased in these difficult economic times," notes the CQCD's president Me Gaston Lafleur.

The CQCD wishes to thank ADT Sensormatic and Altus Géocom and their team for conducting this survey. Carried out between July and August 2009, the survey polled respondents representing approximately 162,000 employees working in more than 4,250 stores in Quebec. The survey respondents' sales are estimated at more than $25.8 billion in 2008 in Quebec alone.

The Conseil québécois du commerce de détail (CQCD) is proud to promote, represent and enhance the image of Quebec's retail sector and its members in order to ensure the development and prosperity of the sector. Le CQCD is an association of retail and distribution enterprises representing more than 70% of retail activity in Quebec. It is an indispensable interlocutor for this important sector of Quebec's economy.

    *  Basic consumer goods: Supermarkets and grocery stores, corner stores
       and specialty stores, pharmacies

    ** Semi-durable and durable goods: Furniture, home furnishings,
       computers and software, home electronics and appliances, home
       centres and hardware stores, specialized building materials and
       garden stores, sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores, general
       merchandise stores, department stores.

SOURCE Retail Council of Quebec

For further information: For further information: Gaston Lafleur, President, Conseil québécois du commerce de détail, (514) 842-6681, extension 200, 1-800-364-6766; Céline Ducharme, Communications Manager, Conseil québécois du commerce de détail, (514) 842-6681, extension 200, 1-800-364-6766; Source: Conseil québécois du commerce de détail/Retail Council of Quebec, Internet site:

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