BOCA RATON, Fla. — Retailers lost $34.5 billion in theft in 2011, a decrease of $2.6 billion compared to the previous year, according to the National Retail Security Survey (NRSS).
Conducted by the University of Florida (UF) with funding from ADT Commercial Security (soon to be Tyco Integrated Security), the study tracks retail theft shoplifting, employee theft, administrative error and vendor fraud.
UF criminologist Richard Hollinger, Ph.D., who directed the survey, attributes the decline in retail theft to the enhancements and improvements in loss prevention technologies and programs.
“This year’s decrease in retail theft is evidence retailers are implementing and updating loss prevention strategies in order to reduce shrinkage,” he says.
As in years past, employee theft continues to have the largest effect on retail theft. Businesses lost $15.1 billion to employee theft, which accounted for 43.9% of total losses. Shoplifting, which is the second largest area of lost profits, had a loss of $12.3 billion or 35.7%.
It helps that more retailers are relying more on efficient inventory and traffic technologies to reduce shrinkage, according to Michael Creedon, vice president, national accounts for retail, ADT Commercial Security. Loss prevention technologies include radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, advanced video surveillance systems and analytics, and robust data collection and reporting solutions.
“Actively safe-guarding merchandise allows retailers to keep costs down and pass that cost-savings along to consumers,” Creedon says. “With the right tools in place, retailers are able to identify the cause of theft, take action and stop and limit shrink.”