Festive spirit thieves: Stores losing €100 worth of stock a week due to alcohol theft

Kevin Herlihy, who co-owns a number of Cork Centra stores, said the local business community is heavily affected by shoplifting incidents at this time of year.
Festive spirit thieves: Stores losing €100 worth of stock a week due to alcohol theft

The Cork Business Association has announced Kevin Herlihy of Herlihy Centra Group said the local business community is heavily affected by shoplifting incidents at this time of year. Pic: Brian Lougheed

THE president of the Cork Business Association (CBA) opened up about how he is losing €100 worth of stock a week in each of his stores due to relentless alcohol thefts.

Kevin Herlihy, who co-owns a number of Cork Centra stores, said the local business community is heavily affected by shoplifting incidents at this time of year. He added that high end stores offering luxury products have also taken a considerable hit this year. However, the products targeted in his own stores are mainly alcohol brands. The businessman said he has to factor shoplifting-related losses into his business plan.

“If we lose products through shoplifting then so be it,” he said. 

“The main priority for me is the protection of our staff. That’s why we have security. 

"This is happening in my stores and it is happening in every other store around the city. It has become very predominant at Christmas time and we now view it as part and parcel of life. It’s part of doing business in retail and, unfortunately, we have to put up with it.”

He said that alcohol is their biggest loss and works out at an average loss of €100 each week per store.

“Some people order items and others shoplift them and that’s just the way it is,” he said. “There are items in certain categories that would be prone to theft but the biggest one by a country mile is alcohol. We might lose €100 a week but that’s to be expected unfortunately. 

"There is addiction in this city like there is in any city and this would certainly add to the level of shoplifting. 

"We train all our staff to ensure that their own safety is paramount. It is better to lose stock than have one of my staff members attacked.”

Mr Herlihy said that gardaí have been very cooperative in relation to shoplifting concerns: “We certainly welcome more boots on the ground and hopefully this will happen in the coming weeks.”

Meanwhile, Caitríona Twomey from Cork Penny Dinners said they are running addiction meetings every Friday and Sunday from 7pm to support those with addictions in Cork.

“People need the right supports and treatment centres,” she said. “They are not available in Cork at the moment. Some of the centres are brilliant but we need a lot more. People deserve a chance.”

“A lot of the people who come to us tell us they regret what they have done in the past. Most of the time people don’t want to be doing these things. If someone has to resort to stealing alcohol it’s because they have an addiction. We would advise anyone who is experiencing this that it is not too late. Everyone is welcome to the addiction meetings and it’s important people know that help is available.”

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