Retail Shrink Rises to 1.58%: NRF

Retail shrinkage across all retail sectors increased to 1.58% of sales in 2010, up from 1.44% in 2009, according to preliminary results of the latest National Retail Security Survey, released at the National Retail Federation's Loss Prevention Conference and Expo.

DALLAS — Retail shrinkage across all retail sectors increased to 1.58% of sales in 2010, up from 1.44% in 2009, according to preliminary results of the latest National Retail Security Survey, released yesterday at the National Retail Federation's Loss Prevention Conference and Expo here.

The survey is a collaborative effort between NRF and the University of Florida.

According to the survey, total retail losses cost retailers $37.1 billion last year, up from $33.5 billion in 2009. NRF's recently released Organized Retail Crime Survey found that 95% of retailers have been a victim of organized retail crime over the last 12 months.

According to the preliminary survey findings, the majority of retail shrinkage last year was due to employee theft, at $16.2 billion, accounting for 43.7% of total losses. Retailers reported that 18.7% of cases involved collusion between internal and external bad actors. Retailers lost $12.1 billion to shoplifting, which is 32.6% of total losses.

Other losses included administrative error ($4.8 billion and 12.9% of shrinkage) and vendor fraud ($2 billion and 5.4% of shrinkage). Retailers said that the cause of the remaining shrinkage was unknown.

"Increased shoplifting and shrink rates mirror what retailers are seeing with professional and organized crime rings," said Joe LaRocca, NRF's senior asset protection advisor, in a statement. "Retailers are continuing to put resources in place to fight these self-serving and unethical criminals who walk out with billions of dollars in unpaid merchandise every year."