Retail shrinkage rises to $48.9 billion in 2016: Survey

28 Jun '17
2 min read

Retail shrinkage in the United States increased to $48.9 billion in 2016 from $45.2 billion the year before, according to a recent survey. The thefts amounted to 1.44 percent of sales, up from 1.38 percent in the previous year. Shoplifting continued to account for the greatest losses with an average of $798.48 per incident, up from $377 in 2015.

Shoplifting was followed by an average loss of $1,922.80 from employee theft, up from $1,233.77 in 2015. The average cost of retail robberies dropped to $5,309.72 from $8,170.17 in 2015 but remained at more than double the $2,464.50 seen in 2014.

The annual National Retail Security Survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the University of Florida was carried out on 83 retailers. The study is a partnership between Hollinger of the University of Florida and NRF and is sponsored by The Retail Equation.

"Retailers are proactive in combating criminal activity in their stores but acknowledge that they still have a lot of work left to do," said NRF vice president of loss prevention Bob Moraca. "The job is made much more difficult when loss prevention experts can’t get the money they need to beef up their staffs and resources. Retail executives need to realize that money spent on preventing losses is money that improves the bottom line."

According to the report, 48.8 per cent of retailers surveyed mentioned about increase in inventory shrink, while only 16.7 per cent said it remained flat. Shrink was divided into shoplifting and organised retail crime (36.5 per cent), employee theft/internal (30 per cent), administrative paperwork error (21.3 per cent) and vendor fraud or error (5.4 per cent).

"The seriousness of retail theft is much greater than most customers realise," said Richard Hollinger, a veteran University of Florida criminology professor and the lead author of the report. "When criminals steal from retailers, consumers pay higher prices, the safety of innocent employees can be compromised and shoppers looking for popular merchandise often cannot find it. Retailers need to continue to invest in new technologies to prevent and prosecute these crimes." (RR)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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