Employee theft and shoplifting will cost retailers nearly $9 billion this holiday season, and unfortunately it's the upstanding consumer who pays for that loss in the end.

New statistics from the Centre for Retail Research indicates that U.S. retailers are at risk of losing approximately $5 billion by way of employee theft, nearly $4 billion from shoplifting and $400 million from vendors and distribution. Ultimately, these losses could end up adding roughly an extra $100 to the American consumer’s shopping costs this Christmas.

The report indicates the three products found most often on the five-finger discount list are alcohol, women’s clothing and fashion accessories. However, some crooks are a little more ambitious, stealing toys, smartphones, computers, DVD gift sets and jewelry.

"The Christmas season is an especially attractive time for criminals," said Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research. "Thieves take advantage of busy stores to steal high-value, high-demand goods. As a result, retailers face a big threat from professional and semi-professional thieves, many of whom steal goods with the intention of reselling them. Organized retail crime is a major concern for retailers—especially since the average amount stolen per incident is much higher than 'normal' thefts."

[Business News Daily]