It is the most costly property crime in the country. In 2014, retailers lost $44 billion in inventory to shrink. No other form of crime comes close to it.
Those are some of the conclusions from the 2015 National Retail Security Survey. The University of Florida conducted the survey in partnership with the National Retail Federation. The results were released late last month.
This survey is different from the Global Retail Theft Barometer that we reported about in April. That report looks at retail theft on a global scale. The good news is that the percentage of shrink to all retail sales was reduced in 2014 to 1.38 percent. That is the lowest this statistic has been since this particular survey started in 1991.
Unfortunately, there is a dark side to this optimistic figure. Dr. Richard Hollinger of the University of Florida conducted the survey and believes that one of the reasons this year’s number was lower is because some of those stores that were hit hard by theft in previous years, closed their doors and are no longer in business. That skewed the number downward.
The survey also uncovered another area of concern: Shoplifting and external theft is now the largest portion of shrink, accounting for 38 percent of all cases. This is the first time that another category has surpassed employee theft, which was at 34.5 percent last year.
The cause for the increase in shoplifting and external theft is believed to be organized retail crime. It involves multiple, organized participants. These groups perform investigations on targets before they get hit and plan out their attacks in advance. In some cases, these groups of thieves may be involved with larger, organized crime or even terrorist organizations. Their hauls are usually much larger, and of course in the case of terrorist groups, their actions could be much more dangerous.
Grocery stores and supermarkets have the highest levels of shrink, accounting for 3.23 percent of all cases. Clothing stores and department stores, with 1.22 percent, are next on the list.
Dr. Hollinger commented that at one time, shrink was believed to be “a cost of doing business,” something retailers had to accept and endure. However, that attitude might be changing. Security budgets are not being reduced, and in some cases they are being enlarged. This suggests that some retailers are no longer buying into that philosophy. At a cost of $44 billion, it’s no wonder that retailers want to protect their property.
In the densely populated region of Southern California, the rate of these types of thefts is much higher. The best way to reduce shoplifting and external theft is with posted security guards.
Our highly trained and professional officers can ensure that your inventory and property are secure. Their presence during business hours will act as a real deterrent to those looking to shoplift. Afterhours, a posted guard will be in the position to either scare away thieves, or apprehend them. This will ensure a lower shrink rate for your store.
To learn more about how American Security Force can reduce shrink at your retail location, call us at 877-722-8585.