Is it actually possible that Polly\’s sources could get worse?

I think it is you know.

That\’s hardly news. But here\’s a small insight into hardship that Dr Eoin Clarke unearthed from the Centre for Retail Research. Shoplifting is rising, as it does in recessions. What are the most stolen items? Not luxuries. Cheese comes a long way top, meat second, then fish and baby milk only just behind alcohol. Baby milk!


Our Eoin as a statistics source?

Actually looking at his claimed source I can\’t see that what he\’s climaing people are climaing is what people are claiming:


We don\’t seem to have UK specific numbers. And European numbers don\’t look all that our of line with those of other areas of the world. And where we do have UK specific numbers retail shrinkage (which is not shoplifting alone) seems to be falling:

Retail shrinkage rose again in 2011 to 1.37% of sales, putting UK retailers in the same position as they had been in 2009. Shrinkage in 2010 was 1.29%. As recently as 2002, UK shrinkage was as high as 1.77%.

Depends upon your measurement period, obviously.

As to why what is shoplifted is shoplifted: well, you\’d expect the highest value items that are left out on the shelves to be those that are shoplifted really. There\’s not much shoplifting of diamonds because they\’re not put where people can lift them: there is of cheese because it is.

But if Polly\’s going to start using Eoin as a source of statistics, what next? R. Murphy on taxes or something equally absurd?

8 thoughts on “Is it actually possible that Polly\’s sources could get worse?”

  1. The table refers to groceries alone. Does it therefore exclude all the items most people associate with shoplifting- eg clothes, books, CDs?

  2. All this tells me is that, despite the “savagery” of cuts, people are more likely to boost a bottle of vodka from the supermarket than milk for their child. Sounds like a luxury to me.

  3. And if you read Eoin’s article he claims his figures show percentage change year on year. But when you look at the source it seems to show the 8 top items as a percentage of the overall shrinkage.

    The old lefty switcheroo trick. Use the figures from two different methdos and attempt to compare them as if they were alike. Just like the way they are misusing the figures from the latest report on incomes of the top FTSE bosses. Biggest culprit – the BBC.

  4. Here, in 2005, razor blades are on top of the list.

    “Razor blades, air fresheners, batteries, CDs, DVDs, electronic gaming and music equipment and alcohol are cited by offenders as good items to sell on, according to his research. Also cheese, meat and other foodstuffs, all of which can be exchanged for cash very quickly.

    And while there is no absolute rule, those who steal to sell on are likely to steal much larger quantities of product than those stealing for themselves.”

  5. @Jahn, yep I also read that razor blades, namely the ultra expensive Gillette multiblades (where are they up to now, it is 5 or 6 blades?).

    I suppose the the numbers would have changed depending on liquidity of the resale market, possibly household essentials rather than luxuries might be more liquid now.

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