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Global Theft Study Shows a Continued Increase in Theft and Shrink

Posted on 10/20/11 12:37 PM

The 5th annual Global Retail Theft Barometer, conducted by the Centre of Retail Research in Nottingham, UK and underwritten by Checkpoint Systems, Inc. recently released the results of their 2011 study. LP Innovations attended an online presentation sponsored by Loss Prevention Magazine and provides you with some of the highlights of that presentation.

Overall Study Results

  • 43 countries were represented with 1,187 retail companies responding to the survey.

  • The study included data from June 2010 through June 2011.

  • Global shrinkage (theft and error) cost retailers $119 Billion money globe resized 600worldwide, representing 1.45% of retail sales.

  • Highest levels since 2007 and all crime categories (employee theft, shoplifting, organized retail crime, etc.) increased over the past year.

  • Employee theft was the highest category in the United States (44% of all loss), with the average employee theft loss reported as $1,764.76 per dishonest employee.

  • Shoplifting was the highest in Europe (48% of all loss); however the average employee theft loss was almost double the United States loss.

North America Results
  • The retail shrinkage in North America was reported as 1.59% of retail sales, representing over $45 Billion in dollars lost.

  • Retail Shrinkage was up 6% from last year (1.58% compared to 1.5%)

  • The United States statistics included data from 174 retail companies representing over 62,000 locations.

  • Categories of loss within the United States were approximately;

    • Employee Theft – 44.1%

    • External Theft – 35.8%

    • Errors (Paperwork, Employee Caused) – 15.9%

    • Vendor Theft or Caused Loss – 4.2%

  • Highest Shrink Business Segments across North America included;

    • Cosmetics/beauty supply/pharmacy/perfume at 1.97%

    • Apparel/clothing and fashion/accessories at 1.87%

    • Auto parts/hardware/building materials at 1.77%

    • Department store or large general store at 1.68%


What are retailers doing to reduce loss?

The Global Retail Theft Barometer Study reviews and analyzes loss prevention expenditures and program elements to determine what retailers are doing to combat loss and reduce shrink.

During the presentation, Professor Bamfield stated that although retail crimes increased in this year’s survey, loss prevention investments did not keep up with the increase in shrink. Global economic issues and lagging retail sales may have been the reasons for fewer loss prevention investments, which in turn may have resulted in less apprehensions and more theft.

North American Loss Prevention Expenditures in 2011

  • Contract Employees – 35.9%

  • Security Equipment – 31.0%

  • Direct Employees – 20.4%

  • Other – 8.0 %

  • Armored Car Collection – 7.9%


Better Program = Better Shrink

Professor Bamfield reported that the study shows some interesting figures for the top 50 global retailers reporting decreases in shrink from the previous year. He found that;

  • 96% used store audit programs to monitor compliance and the use of loss prevention policies and procedures.

  • 64% audited individual locations 3 or more times annually

  • These retailers placed a greater emphasis on employee training

  • They spent almost twice as much as the global average on loss prevention spending


Here are some additional links to learn more about the Global Retail Theft Barometer Study

Centre for Retail Research

2011 Global Retail Theft Barometer Press Release by Checkpoint Systems

Loss Prevention Magazine

Topics: Loss Prevention program and development

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