Retailers believe they are seeing a rise in what they are calling theft to order - with large quantities of specific items being stolen for resale or reuse.
First Retail Group director Chris Wilkinson said some people were taking not just one or two items but a whole shelf-full of products, be it jackets, pharmaceuticals, or meat.
Mr Wilkinson said they knew what they were looking for, and were filling an order.
"The toy stores before Christmas, certain products that were theft to order, meat products, believe it or not, so they'll go from one supermarket to another to another to another.
"Recently a car was pulled over in Wellington from another shop theft and when the police opened the boot they found thousands of dollars worth of meat."
Mr Wilkinson said threats against staff were also rising.