As a shopper, it’s sometimes hard not to get annoyed at a business, even if you know the source of your irritation.
Take printer ink at the big box store, face cream or cold medicine at the drugstore, or (fill in the blanks with your own experience).
To buy these items, you have to hit the call button or ask a staff member to open the box with the product – and often follow them to the cashier for immediate cash out.
But here’s the story behind it, as reported last week in the National Retail Federation’s 2022 National Retail Safety Survey.
“Shrinked,” or lost inventory due to internal or external theft, lost paperwork or other confusion, accounted for $94.5 billion in lost sales last year, up from $90.8 billion in 2020. For the average retailer, the shrinkage was 1.44%, which is in line with the five-year rate of 1.5%, according to the survey.
The survey showed that outside theft, including shoplifting by individuals and organized groups, was the largest part of the reduction, down 37 percent.
Employee/internal theft came in second at 28.5%.
The annual survey, conducted this year in partnership with the Loss Prevention Research Council, has led to a more in-depth study of the impact of so-called “organized retail crime,” according to the National Retail Federation.
That usually means groups quickly raiding one or more stores, as was the case last fall in the smashing and looting of masked looters at high-end retailers Nordstrom and Louis Vuitton. Loss-prevention experts say it could also involve less flashy thefts carried out by local fence operations that send homeless people, drug addicts or people with mental health issues to carry out the theft.
Retailers in the 2022 survey reported an average 26.5% increase in organized retail crime last year, with many expressing alarm at the violence and aggression that followed.
The target item has been called CRAVED: hideable, removable, usable, valuable, enjoyable, and disposable. This includes health and beauty products, accessories, food and beverages, apparel, footwear, homewares, homewares, office supplies, baby care and toys.
The survey also pointed to the unintended impact of COVID-19, as labor shortages and turnover leave retailers without enough staff to “provide informal custody, simply deterring retail crime through their presence”.
Where does this get us as shoppers? Press the call button or tag a store employee.
In the spring, Forbes quoted the CEO of a security-equipment maker under the headline “You didn’t expect it: Stores are locking everything down,” saying that if shoppers forget their troubles, putting items in locked displays could Curb sales.
On the bright side, though, the article mentions new technology that could soon allow us to unlock cases ourselves—if we’re willing to hand over personal information or gain access by scanning our faces, that is.
Marlene Kennedy is a freelance columnist. The views expressed in her column are her own and not necessarily those of the newspaper.contact her [email protected]
More from the Daily Bulletin: