Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Shrinkage is shrinking

June 15, 2010

AUSTRALIA-ECONOMY/SPENDINGCheck out how shoplifting rates are easing amid economic signs of life.

As severe economic pressures subside, U.S. retailers are noticing a slight decrease in merchandise losses, a.k.a. ”shrinkage,” according to the National Retail Federation.  Preliminary results of the group’s latest survey show that shrinkage decreased to 1.44 percent of retail sales in 2009, down from 1.51 percent in 2008.

According to the survey, retailers lost $33.5 billion through lost merchandise 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 La Rocca in a statement.

Employee theft was the biggest culprit last year, accounting for $14.4 billion in losses, or 43 percent of the total. Shoplifting accounted for 35 percent of the losses, or $11.7 billion, while administrative errors accounted for 14.5 percent and vendor fraud 3.8 percent.

But just because there was a little less fraud, don’t think retailers are out of the woods yet –

A new survey by found that over half of the American investors in the stock market, who were also pessimistic about the market’s trend following the European credit crisis, expected to cut back on all spending throughout the summer months.  Of those with school age children, many said they may spend 25 percent less for back-to-school apparel if the market does not rebound quickly.

“Discretionary consumer spending will be in steep fall this summer as a majority of Americans rethink everything from back-to-school spending to vacation plans,” said Britt Beemer,  CEO of America’s Research Group, which polled 1,000 people in early May about their spending intentions.

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Bakers Footwear fails to comply with listing rules

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INSIGHT-Small banks fight card fee limits despite exemption

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