Economy Drives More Organized Retail Crime: NRF

Nine out of ten retailers (92%) report that their companies were victims of organized retail crime during the past year, up 8% from 2008, according to the fifth annual Organized Retail Crime survey conducted by the National Retail Federation.

WASHINGTON — Nine out of ten retailers (92%) report that their companies were victims of organized retail crime during the past year, up 8% from 2008, according to the fifth annual Organized Retail Crime survey conducted by the National Retail Federation here.

Nearly three-fourths (73%) of retailers also reported the level of organized retail crime activity has increased over the past 12 months, an increase of 11% from 2008.

"The unfortunate economic events of the past year have played an intricate role in how criminals continue to rip off the retail industry," said Joe LaRocca, NRF's senior asset protection advisor, in a statement. "Organized retail crime rings have realized that tough economic times present new business opportunities by stealing valuable items from retailers and turning around to sell the merchandise to consumers looking for bargains."

The survey noted that 60% of retailers have identified or recovered stolen merchandise and/or gift cards that were being "e-fenced" via online sites. In response, Tod Cohen, vice president and deputy general counsel for online auction site eBay, defended the site.

"The National Retail Federation's recent report on organized retail crime is filled with best guesses vs. facts and hard numbers," he said. "It simply doesn't make sense to blame online marketplaces for a problem that has existed since well before the Internet was invented."

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