According to an independent survey sponsored by Checkpoint Systems, advances in security technology have resulted in a 5% drop in retail store theft over the past year.

With the police either too soft or too stretched to pursue shoplifters, EAS systems have increasingly become the retailer’s only effective means of protecting on-display stock. The UK heads the list of retail theft in Europe, which in overall terms registered a stock loss equivalent of £19.2bn during 2002/03.

While 48% of stock loss is directly attributable to shoplifting, an astonishing 17% is down to on-pack pricing errors.

The Checkpoint Systems survey indicates a total spend on security systems across Europe of EUR4.5bn, which says UK managing director Neil Matthews repre-sents a EUR720M uplift on the previous year to ensure that crime doesn’t pay.

Some of that expenditure comes from the French-owned multiple Carrefour, which has recently extended security throughout 40 of its stores through the introduction of Checkpoint’s third-generation digital radio EAS technology.