Study Says Employee Theft Has Risen in Retail Stores

SAN ANTONIO

While shoplifting and employee mistakes contribute to more
than $31 billion in retail losses each year, employee theft
accounts for nearly half of the problem, according to an
expert who spoke June 4 at retail industry event in San
Antonio.

About 1,200 retail executives who attended the National Retail Federation’s loss prevention conference heard Richard Hollinger, co-author of the 2002 National Retail Security Survey, discuss how to combat the growing theft problem. He added that employee theft has risen since the last survey.

The theft survey, released in November, relies on 2001 data from 118 responding firms. It reported an average loss of 1.7 percent of total sales, slightly lower than the previous year’s rate of 1.8 percent. Stores that had higher loss percentages include jewelry, children and women’s apparel and drug stores.

The National Retail Federation estimates that shoplifting cost retailers $8.45 billion in 2000. Sales of retail stores in 2002 were estimated at $3.6 trillion.

Members of the Retail Federation represent an industry that includes more than 1.4 million U.S. retail stores and employs more than 20 million people—about one in five workers. The loss prevention conference is a way for National Retail Federation members to learn about theft trends in the industry, new technology and strategies to lessen stealing.

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