National retailer JB Hi-Fi are infamous for their large range of electronic and entertainment products at low prices, some would consider them a steal, while others are taking that sentiment literally.

According to a report from News LtdJB Hi-Fi has reported a loss of more than $12 million worth of stock from items plundered from their stores in the past year alone. It’s an enormous leap of 60% to the number of shoplifters the retailer is experiencing in the last twelve months from $7.5 million.

The number one target for thieves are JB’s range of high-end headphones, but music, DVDs, games and electronic equipment are also being boosted from stores, according to the company’s Chief Executive Terry Smart, who credited a decrease in floor staff as a major contributing factor to the high theft turnover.

According to the JB executive, the company’s shoplifting figures were still low compared to their competitors, with stolen items accounting for 0.39% per cent of total sales, “by industry standards we are very low,” said Mr Smart, “but it’s a concern because it has increased.” Namely from 0.26%, which Mr Smart attributed to a experiencing a reduction in casual staff hours and rostering.

“A function of having less coverage on the shop floor makes that opportunistic side for theft a little bit easier,” said Mr Smart. “It jolts you into looking at everything you do and we are really exploring what opportunities there are to help mitigate this issue.”

It’s a well-known tactic amongst retailers that the presence of staff (and obviously, security) can stop the opportunity of theft even arising, but the retailer is reluctant to tweak their merchandising methods.

Richard Marry, JB Hi-Fi’s Finance Director, said taking security measures – like putting valuable items in glass displays – would slow down sales processes and put customers off purchasing; adding: “You’ll never know the cost of those lost sales.”

JB Hi-Fi are now looking into ways to stave off the increasing wave of stock and items being pinched from their stores, enabling the Victoria Legal Aid’s policies on shoplifters with threats of imprisonment, fines, or both depending on the severity of the offence or the offender’s record.

Police could aid in theft also, recommended JB executives, issuing on-the-spot fines or helping detain shoplifters.

News Ltd  points to figures from the Australian Retail Association that show that shoplifting costs retailers an average $7.5 billion last year, which equates to 3% of all retail sales, but it’s still an increase on previous years, rising from $6.8 billion in 2010 and $5 billion in 2009.

JB Hi-Fi’s staggering loss of $12 million worth in CDs, DVDs and electronics, comes alongside the retailer’s annual sales report, which shows the their net profit fell 5%, to $104 million, in the last financial year.