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Retail Inventory Shrinkage Up in 2015

According to the 2016 National Retail Security Survey (NRSS), conducted by the National Retail Federation and the University of Florida, retailers’ inventory shrink averaged 1.38 percent of retail sales, or $45.2 billion in 2015, up by $1.2 billion from 2014.

The report said 47 percent of retailers surveyed reported increases in overall inventory shrink in 2015. Shoplifting accounted for the greatest cause of shrink, with an average loss of $377 per incident, up $60 from 2014. There was a decrease in the average loss from dishonest employee cases. While the number of employees apprehended stealing increased, the prosecutions, terminations and civil demands for these types of internal incidents dropped.

“With a constantly evolving retail landscape, loss prevention becomes more complex every day,” says NRF Vice President of Loss Prevention Bob Moraca. “LP professionals have been working diligently to find advancements in technology aimed at deterring crime in our industry, sometimes even before it happens—but as our techniques get more sophisticated, so too do the criminals.”

Retailers who want reduce their loss through theft need to employ multiple methods of deterring crime, including employee training and store surveillance integrated with POS systems.

“Loss prevention professionals continue to do an exceptional job at locating the issues and finding solutions to prevent additional loss in their retail stores,” says Dr. Richard Hollinger, University of Florida criminology professor and lead author of the NRSS. “It is important for retailers to continue building relationship with law enforcement and leverage new technologies that can further provide protection to their assets, customers and employees.”

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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