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