Retail Thefts in Spain: A Growing Concern

Growing Theft Problem In Spanish Shops

Shoplifter. Credit: Ljupco Smokovski/

A recent report has shed light on the surging trend of shoplifting in Spain, revealing intriguing insights into which items are the most frequently stolen from shops and supermarkets.

This comprehensive study, published on Thursday, November 16, reveals the products most commonly stolen from Spanish shops over the past year.

Retail shrinkage, which includes losses from various sources, now accounts for nearly 1 per cent of the total turnover of distribution companies in Spain, translating to a staggering impact of a €2,278 million loss to the commercial sector, according to a report from Onda Cero.

Shrinkage: A Multifaceted Issue

The losses from shrinkage are broken down into four main causes. External theft (54 per cent), administrative errors (24 per cent), internal or employee theft (17 per cent), and supplier fraud (5 per cent).

The report highlights a notable increase in external theft over the past year, with over half attributed to organised criminal groups aiming for profit. Retailers have observed the highest incidence of theft at self-checkout counters, as confirmed by over half of the surveyed companies.

Most Stolen Products

The study categorises the most frequently stolen items into five distinct sectors: food and beverages; personal care and beauty; electronics, DIY and household; and textiles, clothing, and accessories.

In the food sector, an overwhelming 90 per cent of businesses reported cold meats as the top target for thieves, followed by wines, spirits, oils, preserves, and cheeses.

The personal care and beauty sector is plagued by the theft of make-up, razors, moisturising creams, sunscreens, and colognes. Electronics retailers report external hard disks and headphones as the prime targets, along with video games, mobile phone accessories, and chargers.

For DIY and household items, batteries and light bulbs top the list, while the fashion sector suffers mostly from the theft of T-shirts, trousers, and dresses.

The study highlights the growing concern of retail theft in Spain, affecting various sectors from food to fashion. It underscores the need for more effective theft prevention strategies, especially at vulnerable points like self-checkout counters.

The findings also point to the organized nature of these thefts, suggesting a more complex challenge for retailers and law enforcement officers.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.