US RE­TAIL­ERS LOS­ING BIG BUCKS DUE TO THEFT, IN­VEN­TORY ‘SHRINK’

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Re­tail­ers in Amer­ica lost bil­lions of dol­lars in 2016, largely due to shoplift­ing, em­ployee theft and other types of in­ven­tory “shrink,” ac­cord­ing to a new sur­vey Opens a New Win­dow. The new data, com­piled by the Na­tional Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion (NRF) and the Uni­ver­sity of Florida, said in­ven­tory shrink grew to $48.9 bil­lion in 2016 from $45.2 bil­lion the year prior. The in­crease in losses were found to be largely due to the re­sult of flat or de­clin­ing re­tail se­cu­rity bud­gets. Nearly half (48.8 per­cent) of re­tail­ers sur­veyed said they saw an in­crease in in­ven­tory shrink, while nearly 17 per­cent said it re­mained flat. Shoplift­ing ac­counted for the most losses, av­er­ag­ing $798.48 per in­ci­dent, up $377 from 2015. The in­crease came, in part, due to states rais­ing the thresh­old for felony crimes, mean­ing only larger thefts are re­ported. Re­tail­ers also al­lo­cated smaller bud­gets for loss pre­ven­tion. In other words, their se­cu­rity staffs were min­i­mal and not able to com­bat thefts, the sur­vey said. Em­ployee theft, the next big­gest loss, in­creased to $1,922.80, in 2017, up nearly $700 from 2015. Ad­di­tion­ally, for the first time, re­tail­ers were asked about re­turn fraud, in which they re­ported an av­er­age loss of $1,766.27.

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