Throughout retail industries, the financial toll of organized retail crime is growing. The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently compiled data on retail theft, shedding light on one of the industry’s most pressing problems.
A staggering 97 percent of retailers say they’ve been victims of organized retail crime, including cargo theft, return scams and large-scale shoplifting. The problem seems poised to rise. More than two-thirds of the retailers NRF surveyed say they’ve seen a rise in store thefts in the past year.
The NRF estimates for every $1 billion of merchandise sold, organized retail crime costs retailers more than $703,000. About 65 percent say combatting retail crime is more of a priority now than in the past five years and is driving operational strategy at their businesses. Roughly half of the retailers NRF surveyed say they are allocating additional technology resources and increasing their budgets to address the rising risk.
In recent years, cities and states have raised the dollar threshold on stolen merchandise for prosecuting felonies. However, the NRF says these policies have had an unintended consequence as retail thieves can steal increasing amounts of merchandise without risking a felony conviction. More than 70 percent of retail respondents say new laws to combat organized retail crime need to be established.