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Retailers Say Shoplifting Is on the Rise
The old image of the solo shoplifter is being replaced by a new one where organized gangs of thieves are becoming trouble for retailers.
The Bergen County Record reports that shoplifting gangs are a growing problem and are contributing to the billions retailers lose from shoplifting. Retailer statistics show shoplifters are responsible for almost $17.2 billion of the $42 billion stolen from retailers last year, up from $10.2 billion in 2001.
Nearly half the losses from shoplifting have been at supermarkets and other food stores. Some thieves simply walk out of stores with stolen goods. Others turn to identity theft to obtain a credit card and then use that to purchase gift cards to purchase merchandise, says Frank Muscato, a member of Wal-Mart Stores' national Investigative Task Force.
Study Says Employee Theft Has Risen in Retail Stores
While shoplifting and employee mistakes contribute to more than $31 billion in retail losses each year, employee theft accounts for nearly half of the problem, according to an expert who spoke June 4 at retail industry event in San Antonio.
About 1,200 retail executives who attended the National Retail Federation's loss prevention conference heard Richard Hollinger, co-author of the 2002 National Retail Security Survey, discuss how to combat the growing theft problem. He added that employee theft has risen since the last survey.
The theft survey, released in November, relies on 2001 data from 118 responding firms. It reported an average loss of 1.7 percent of total sales, slightly lower than the previous year's rate of 1.8 percent. Stores that had higher loss percentages include jewelry, children and women's apparel and drug stores.
The National Retail Federation estimates that shoplifting cost retailers $8.45 billion in 2000. Sales of retail stores in 2002 were estimated at $3.6 trillion.
Members of the Retail Federation represent an industry that includes more than 1.4 million