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Retail Shrink is on the Rise! How Do You Compare to Your Peers?

Posted on 7/8/11 11:30 AM

Retail Shrink loss has increased over the past year according to preliminary results of an annual industry survey and even more recent statistics from an online industry benchmarking database.

Preliminary results from the National Retail Security Survey (NRSS), published annually by the University of Florida, shows retail shrinkage increasing and employee theft continuing to be its largest contributor.

Although final figures will not be completed until late summer, here are some of the preliminary figures recently presented at the National Retail Federation Loss Prevention Conference.

    • Overall retail shrink has increased from 1.44% to 1.58% of total retail sales (2009 to 2010)

    • Employee theft continues to be the highest contributor with 43.7% of overall dollars lost due to employee theft

    • Compared to last year’s study, total dollars lost increased from $33.49 billion to over $37 billion in a single year.

    • Vendor Fraud (5.4%) also increased slightly with External Theft (32.6%) and Administrative Errors (12.9%) seeing decreases in the preliminary report against last year's results.

The NRSS study is not the only industry resource that is showing increases in shrink percentages. The National Shrink Database, an online shrink analysis tool available to retailers, currently shows retail shrinkage at 2.18% at total retail sales.

National Shrink DatabaseThis database, which provides shrinkage and security measure usage and analysis across the industry, by retail category and at specific geographical locations (like mall or shopping center areas), has shown a higher level of retail shrinkage over the past several months.

The National Shrink Database (NSD) may provide a more current look at shrinkage based on;

    • Its membership provides information more regularly and currently is more definitive of the specialty retail market with its membership currently not including larger discount or department stores.

    • The shrink percentages within the NSD include data from as recent as 2011 inventories for many of its member retailers.

The final report for the National Retail Security Survey is expected to be released late summer, early fall of this year.

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Topics: Loss Prevention program and development