“We have people who use the store like their own refrigerator,” the owner of an Ica grocery store told the TT news agency.
An estimated 6.4 billion kronor worth of goods will be stolen from stores in Sweden this year, according to a study carried out by the Checkpoint Systems security firm.
Among the most popular items Swedes acquired using a five-finger discount are accessories, shaving products, and meat.
Cheese, children’s clothing, and cosmetics are also popular among Swedish shoplifters.
“We have people who use the store like their own refrigerator and completely overlook the fact that they should pay for things. There are also gangs who steal. They take chocolate cookies and Nescafé for which there is a second-hand market,” Örjan Josefsson, the owner of an Ica grocery store in Stockholm, told TT.
Employee and supplier thefts have decreased compared to last year, which shoplifting now accounts fro half of the goods that disappear of Swedish store shelves without being paid for.
The Swedish Trade Federation (Svensk Handel), an organisation representing the retail and wholesale trade, thinks that the police don’t take the thefts seriously enough and that the resale of stolen goods is a major problem.
“We have the organised thefts were people go into stores and empty a whole section of goods. That’s a job that someone has ordered and they sell the goods on right away,” Per Geijer, head of security issues with the Federation, told TT.
In Sweden, store thefts amount to 1.40 percent of sales, the highest figure among the Nordic countries.
Geijer had no explanation as to why more retail goods are stolen in Sweden than in Norway, Finland and Denmark, pointing out that Swedish law is adequate.
“But we have a legal system which leaves something to be desired. When stores file police reports about thefts, no one does anything about it,” he said.
Store owner Joseffon has stopped reporting shoplifters to the police.
“We simply take the goods away from them and send them on their way,” he told TT.