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Festive Retail Crime on the Rise

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By Published On: December 11, 20230 Comments

Retail groups continue to call for action as retail crime jumps during the holiday season, putting further pressure on struggling retailers.

During the festive period, retail crime jumps 20 percent. With an already troubling rise of retail crime, and harassment, retailers are subject to additional stress during the holiday season and cannot afford further losses.   Auror – a retail crime reporting platform has identified organised retail crime is costing Australian retailers $15 million a day. 

“The surge during the festive sales period is particularly disheartening,” said Phil Thomson, CEO and Co-Founder of Auror. “We also know given the busy nature of stores leading up to the holidays, there’s a level of underreporting as well. The retail crime occurring during this period sadly only puts further strain on retailers’ resources and capacity to report crime.”

“From our data, we know that 10 percent of individuals cause 60 percent of retail crime, and this stands true over the near decade we’ve been working with retailers across Australia and New Zealand.”

In New Zealand, Michael Hill has spent $5 million to protect its customers and team members from retail crime following a lack of government intervention. 

The ARA has called for action from the government, police and customers to protect retailers across Australia. 

“It’s horrific that retail violence is becoming a matter of life-and-death. On top of that we have a multitude of growing retail thefts including a growing number of organised crime attacks,” said ARA CEO Paul Zahra. 

“This goes beyond the broader issue of retail workers being harassed and intimidated – but also stabbed and subjected to life-threatening attacks. This is unacceptable and is creating extremely high levels of stress and apprehension amongst retail teams and customers. We’re now at the tipping point where urgent action is required. 

“This requires a unified approach to protect our workers. Government has a role to play in increasing tougher penalties for people who assault retail workers – police need increased resources to assist, and retailers need to work closely with authorities and make sure all crime is reported. Technology also has an important role to play in assisting retailers and police” Zahra said. 

In March, the ARA joined forces with the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), calling on state and federal jurisdictions across the country to implement similar reforms to South Australia who introduced a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment for people convicted of basic assault against a retail worker on the job and seven years when the assault causes harm.

About the Author: Rosalea Catterson

Rosalea is the Editor of Power Retail. With a keen interest in consumer behaviour and tech, she covers everything ecommerce and hosts the Power Retail Power Talks Podcast.

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