ARLINGTON, Va. — Shrink in supermarkets declined for the third straight year, to a median of 1.52% of sales in 2006, as food retailers devoted more technology, training and employee vigilance to combat theft and other losses, according to the Food Marketing Institute’s “Supermarket Security and Loss Prevention 2007” report, which was released here this week. The 2006 shrink figure is down from 1.69% of sales in 2005 and 2.00% in 2004. At the same time, supermarkets continue to report increases in organized retail crime — thefts committed by gangs that sweep baby formula, medicines and other expensive items off shelves and fence them through flea markets, pawn shops and Internet auction sites. Nearly six in 10 of the food retailers surveyed (59.6%) reported an increase in these crimes in 2006, about the same number in last year’s report (62.5 percent). The report said 93.6% of the loss prevention executives surveyed are allocating more resources to deter and detect organized retail crime and to help law enforcement capture and prosecute the perpetrators.
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