10 Things Shoplifters Love to Steal During the Holidays

November 7, 2016, 4:45 PM UTC
Chest view of a female shopper looking at a cosmetic box
Photgraph by Brazzo — Getty Images

Retailers like to call the holiday season the Super Bowl of shopping. Shoplifters feel the same way.

According to a recent forecast by Checkpoint Systems, shoplifting as a percentage of sales spikes during the holiday season as thieves (including many retail employees) gravitate to pricier items as more shoppers come into stores.

The holiday season, which kicked off last week, generates 34% of annual sales for retailers, but 37% of their annual “shrinkage,” which is inventory loss for whatever reason—from supply chain inefficiency to employee theft to shoplifting. The latter two account for the bulk of shrinkage.

Shoplifting is $6 billion problem for retailers during the holidays.

According to Ernie Deyle, author of the Checkpoint Systems report, shoplifters are more apt to rationalize their theft during the holiday season. “It’s much easier to do so when a child’s Christmas present is at stake rather than an extra bathing suit for the summer,” he wrote.

Here are the 10 things that American shoplifters steal during the holiday season:

1. Electronics accessories
2. Leather clothing
3. Electronics
4. Accessories
5. Winter clothing
6. Meat and seafood
7. Alcohol
8. Perfume and cologne
9. Children’s toys
10. Chocolate

Shoplifting is especially hard on retailers like Kohl’s (KSS), Macy’s (M), Target (TGT), and Gap Inc (GPS) who are eager to protect profit margins this holiday season as their sales sag and rivals go heavy on promotions.


According to Checkpoint Systems, retailers’ gross profit margin falls to 29% of sales from 31%, in large part because these stores are fighting tooth and nail for each shopper.

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