Convenience stores and news-agents suffer from some of the highest levels of shrinkage from shoplifting and staff theft in the entire retail sector, a new report has revealed.
The Global Retail Theft Barometer from the Centre for Retail Research found that newsagents and convenience stores were hit by higher levels of shrinkage than supermarkets, department stores, toy shops, cosmetics stores, video game outlets or music stores.
Clothing stores had the highest levels of crime-related shrinkage overall.
The report also named the UK as the shrinkage capital of Europe, ahead of Germany, with £3.8bn lost in the last year to theft by customers, staff and suppliers, as well as internal errors.
At 42.6%, customer theft - which includes opportunistic shoplifters and organised gangs - accounted for the largest loss of stock in the past year, while employees who steal from the till or stockroom were responsible for a staggering 34.9% of losses.
Just over 17% was due to internal errors, while 5.6% was down to theft by suppliers.
The study also found that shrinkage now represented 1.69% of a newsagents' turnover, with c-stores close behind at 1.64% - up 2.5% from 2006.
The report said that the rise coincided with a 22% drop in the amount spent on security by UK retailers.
Just over 38% of the most commonly stolen items such as alcohol, cosmetics, batteries, cigarettes, and high-cost foods such as meat and cheese, are still not adequately protected, it said.
Shrinkage rates tend to peak in the four weeks leading up to Christmas.