Survey: Retail theft up

New York City -- Retailers lost $37.14 billion to theft last year, or 1.58% of retail sales, up from 1.44% in 2009, according to preliminary results of the National Retail Security Survey. The annual survey is conducted by the University of Florida for the National Retail Federation, with funding from ADT Commercial.

As in previous years, employee theft accounted for the largest (approximately 44%) portion of the losses. Shoplifting and organized retail crime was second, with 33%. Administrative errors, vendor fraud and unknown causes make up the rest.

The survey also asked retailers what cities were the most problematic for organized retail crime rings. The top cities, in alphabetical order, are: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, New York/northern New Jersey, Philadelphia and Phoenix.

Loss prevention executives say senior retail leadership is more likely to understand how organized retail crime impacts the company’s bottom line as they zoom in on controlling costs in these challenging economic times.

Over half of survey respondents (58.3%) believe their top management understands organized retail crime, up 16% over last year. As a result, the survey found, many companies are allocating additional resources -- including more personnel and greater investment in technology -- to fight the problem.

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