Don’t let retail loss take the gloss off Mother’s Day

Retail mother's day

Australians are set to show mum just how much they care by forking out over $2 billion in the coming weeks as they ready for the gift giving bonanza of Mother’s Day, with the Australian Retailers Association noting it’s second only to Christmas in terms of retail value.

But while stores will be welcoming consumers with open arms, the increased foot traffic and ready access to high value sales items like perfumes, jewellery and electronics mean mum’s wish list also presents a retail loss prevention challenge.

Here are the top tips for managing loss in the busy lead up to Mother’s Day.


What mum wants

According to the ARA, retail sales are set to boom and include an estimated $200 million expenditure on flowers alone. Jewellery, perfumes, electronics, fashion, gift cards and experience-based presents like massages, pampering packages and dining out are also on the list of gifts mum would just love to unwrap.

Research firm McCrindle notes:

  • 20 per cent of mum’s would love something pampering
  • 15 per cent something hand made
  • 11 per cent something they can wear like clothes or jewellery
  • 11 per cent something they can spend like a gift card or store voucher
  • 9 per cent hope for an experience such as dining out, or an experience voucher
  • 8 per cent want something they can consume like chocolates or gourmet foods
  • 5 per cent want something for the home
  • 2 per cent hope for something they can use

“Mother’s Day has always been a big gift giving opportunity, with most Aussies touched by the day in some way, whether it be their own mother, the mother of their children, or grandmother,” ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman explained.

“As a result, some retail categories are likely to see a much-needed lift in sales as mums around Australia are spoiled by their families.”


Not just flowers and pampering

Among those receiving a boost will be the consumer electronics sector with US trends indicating this is a market on the rise when it comes to spoiling mum.

NBC recently noted that : “Flowers, cards and perfume may still top sales, but gifts like digital cameras, cell phones and PDAs are climbing women’s wish lists…”

“These days tech gadgets are a hotter accessory than jewellery. A recent study by the Consumer Electronics Association found that 64 percent of women said they would choose a digital camera over half-carat diamond stud earrings.”


The challenge for retail

While Mother’s Day presents the opportunity for a welcome revenue boost, it also presents a loss prevention challenge for retailers, with high value good like perfumes and jewellery on ready display. And according to the Global Retail Theft Barometer 2015 these are amongst the most popular items targeted by thieves.

“Small and easy to conceal items such as spirits, mobile accessories, batteries, fashion accessories, and razor blades, as well as high-value items with a high resale value such as tablets were most vulnerable,” they note.

Most stolen gift-style merchandise includes:

  • Footwear, fashion accessories and sports-related clothing in the apparel sector.
  • Makeup products, and perfumes in the health and beauty sector.
  • Mobile device accessories, iPads/tablets, and video games in the electronics department.
  • Wines and spirits in the food and beverage sector.

Top tips to handle the Mother’s Day shrink

Experts note the most effective loss prevention encompasses multiple strategies especially at high traffic times such as Mother’s Day. These include:


 Priming your staff

Staff remain a key deterrent for any retail loss so give them a word to the wise in advance, reinstilling the need to meet and greet customers and remain vigilant about keeping a watchful eye on the floor.

Experts also note it’s wise to monitor staff, with Inside Retail explaining employee theft accounts for 25 per cent of all retail loss.

When tackling employee theft, areas to increase scrutiny include the Point of Sale and by undertaking end of shift bag checks.


Complementing vigilant staff is the watchful eye in the sky – CCTV surveillance, and this can act as a theft deterrent as well as a means to catch thieves in the act. To ward off would-be thieves, consider the placement of signage notifying them CCTV is used.

Article surveillance

Used by 73% of retailers, electronic article surveillance is often the prime floor-level defence method against loss, comprising antenna, labels, and tags.

While often associated with apparel, EAS security tags extend far beyond just clothing. Modern tags include bottle locks designed for wine and spirits, optical locks for sunglasses, and lanyard loops and pins that allow tags to be secured to a wide range of merchandise including hard items.

Secure cables and displays

But EAS is not the only solution. Secure cables, secure displays and security packaging are also widely used. These are particularly valuable for decreasing the theft of electronics and accessories.

 The final word

While Mother’s Day will have retailers rubbing their hands together with glee and their tills primed to ring, this busy trading period should also see them turn their attention to security to ensure the gift of Mother’s Day revenue isn’t taxed by the preventable loss of retail shrink.