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Organised retail crime losses reach all-time high: US NRF

25
Nov '18
Growing organised retail crime (ORC) in the United States is giving rise to increasing challenges and complications, with 71 per cent of retailers surveyed reporting an increase in the past year, according to the 14th annual ORC study released by the US National Retail Federation (NRF). Ninty two per cent of firms had been a victim of ORC in the past year.

These criminals find new ways to expand their networks and manipulate the retail supply chain every day and the industry is fighting by upgrading technology, improving relationships with local law enforcement and taking steps such as tightening return policies, said NRF Vice President of Loss prevention Bob Moraca.

Losses averaged $777,877 per $1 billion in sales, up 7 per cent from last year’s previous record of $726,351, according to an NRF press release.

Retailers attributed the increase to the easy online sale of stolen goods, gift card fraud, shortage of staff in stores and demand for certain brand name items or specific products.

In addition, a number of states have increased the threshold for a theft to be considered a felony, meaning criminals can steal a larger quantity of goods while keeping the crime a misdemeanor and avoiding the risk of higher penalties that come with the commission of a felony.

While at least 34 states have ORC laws, 73 per cent of retailers surveyed support the creation of a federal ORC law, noting that ORC gangs often operate across state lines.

Some ORC activity happens before merchandise ever reaches stores, with 29 per cent of retailers saying they had been the victim of cargo theft that occurred along their supply chains. The number was down from 40 per cent last year and 44 per cent the year before.

The top locations targeted for ORC include New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Baltimore, Orlando, northern New Jersey, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Seattle.

Retailers estimated that an average 11 per cent of their annual sales will be returned this year, and that 8 percent of those returns are likely to be fraudulent.

The survey of 66 loss prevention professionals representing department store, big-box, discount, drug, grocery, specialty retail and other industry sectors was conducted from September 16 to October 5. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India


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