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Loss Prevention

Retailers continue to grapple with organized retail crime

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When it comes to looking at retail crime by the numbers, the statistics are staggering. Shrink - the loss of inventory due to employee theft, shoplifting, paperwork errors, or supplier fraud - cost retailers more than $34 billion in 2011, or more than 1.4% of their total sales, with shoplifting accounting for 35% of those losses alone. And it's not just petty shoplifting incidents that are heightening retailers' awareness of these crimes. Organized retail crime is also on the rise. NRF's latest survey on the issue found that nearly all retailers surveyed had been the victim of ORC in the past year.

Unfortunately, retailers are not the only ones who are affected by these brazen criminal acts. Innocent shoppers can be unknowingly caught in the middle when they purchase stolen items from these criminal enterprises through anonymous vendors like online auction sites, pawn shops and flea markets. With a high resale value and prime economic conditions, criminals are making millions on selling stolen health, food and beauty items - such as energy drinks, baby formula, razors and cold medicines - to consumers who are simply looking for a good deal. This blatant act of disregard for the health and safety of shoppers has caused retailers to ramp up efforts to stop to these criminal rings. Through partnerships with law enforcement and other agencies around the country, retailers are still trying to make a dent in this costly crime.

Recently, NRF's Vice President of Loss Prevention Rich Mellor joined ABC Nightly News recently to discuss the growing problem of organized retail crime and the impact on consumers.