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Retail Fraud, Shoplifting Rates Decrease, According to National Retail Security Survey

s severe economic pressures slowly subside, retailers are noticing the same slight movement in merchandise losses, also known as shrinkage, and other types of criminal activity in their stores. Preliminary results of a National Retail Security Survey show that retail shrinkage decreased to 1.44 percent of retail sales in 2009, down from 1.51 percent in 2008. The survey is a collaborative effort between NRF and the University of Florida.

  According to the survey, total retail losses cost retailers $33.5 billion last year, down from $36.5 billion in 2008.

“Retailers lose billions to shoplifting, internal theft and other types of criminal activity every year, so it’s encouraging to see these small successes when it comes to shrink rates,” said NRF senior asset protection advisor Joe LaRocca. “Just as the industry battles organized crime rings on a daily basis, retailers are also faced with the daunting task of protecting their merchandise from everyday criminals because they are greedy and self-serving.” 

According to the survey, the majority of retail shrinkage last year was due to employee theft, at $14.4 billion, accounting for 43 percent of total losses. Retailers lost $11.7 billion to shoplifting, which is 35 percent of total losses. Other losses included administrative error ($4.9 billion and 14.5 percent of shrinkage) and vendor fraud ($1.3 billion and 3.8 percent of shrinkage).

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