FINANCE

Global Retail Theft Barometer finds U.S. shrink down 6.8%

BY CSA STAFF

Thorofare, N.J. Global retail theft totaled $107.3 billion in 2010, representing a 5.6% decrease from the prior year (6.8% in the United States), according to the fourth annual edition of the Global Retail Theft Barometer.

The study, sponsored by an independent grant from Checkpoint Systems, monitored the costs of shrink in the global retail industry between July 2009 and June 2010, and found that shrink decreased in all regions surveyed, with the biggest decrease was in North America. Still, the proportion of global retailers that reported increased actual or attempted shoplifting in 2010 was 31.1% (36.7% in the United States).

“Even with the shrink decrease, retail crime cost the average family in the 42 countries surveyed an extra $186 on their shopping bill,” said Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research and author of the study. “In the U.S., that number was $422.68, a phenomenal figure.”

The survey found that North American retailers are different from the rest of the world in regarding employee theft as their greatest shrink problem, causing 43.7% of shrink. The second largest source was shoplifting at 35%. Some 47.8% of U.S. retailers reported that they experienced increased losses from organized retail crime (ORC). The highest average rates of shrink in the United States were in cosmetics/perfume/beauty supply/pharmacy (1.88%); auto parts/hardware/building materials retail (1.75%); and apparel/clothing/fashion and accessories (1.69%).

Shrink cost retailers $107.3 billion during the study period, representing 1.36% of global retail sales. This is down from 1.43% the previous year. The country with the highest rates of shrink as a percentage of sales was India (2.72%). The lowest rate of shrink was found in Taiwan (0.87%). The U.S. rate was 1.50%.

The 2010 study also found that retailers increased their spending on loss prevention and security by 9.7% over 2009, to $26.8 billion globally; in the United States the increase in loss prevention spending over 2009 amounted to 12.5%.

“The correlation between increased security spending and a global 5.6% decrease in theft is very significant,” said Bamfield. “It highlights the importance of continued advancement and improvement of loss prevention programs, as reducing theft is key to the success and growth of retailers’ businesses.”

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FINANCE

Consumer Sentiment Index declined in October

BY CSA STAFF

Ann Arbor, Mich. — The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment, released Friday, showed that confidence among U.S. consumers unexpectedly declined in October, with Americans more pessimistic about current economic conditions.

The index decreased to 67.9, the lowest since July, from 68.2 in September.

Unemployment projected to remain above 9% through next year may keep weighing on sentiment and make Americans reluctant to ramp up their spending, which accounts for 70% of the economy.

The Thomson Reuters sentiment index averaged 89 in the five years leading up to the recession that began in December 2007 and has yet to reach that level since the recovery began in June 2009.

Separate figures from the Labor Department on Friday showed consumer prices rose 0.1% in September, less than forecast. The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales climbed more than forecast in September; spending rose 0.6% following a 0.7% gain in August that was larger than previously estimated.

Consumer expectations for six months from now, which more closely projects the direction of consumer spending, rose to 64.6 from 60.9, which was the lowest since March 2009, according to the Friday sentiment index.

The survey’s measure of current conditions, which reflects Americans’ perceptions of their financial situation and whether it is a good time to buy big-ticket items such as cars, dropped to 73, the lowest since November, from 79.6 in the previous month.

Other index results showed that consumers expect an inflation rate of 2.6% over the next 12 months, compared with 2.2% projected in September.

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STORE SPACES

McDonald’s targets LEED Gold for California site

BY CSA STAFF

New York City — A renovated McDonald’s in Riverside, Calif., became the first McDonald’s west of the Mississippi, and the fourth in the United Sates, to seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification.

The building, which has stood as a McDonald’s restaurant for 44 years, reopened after a renovation that made the building more sustainable and energy-efficient. The new green features include:

  • Light colored hardscape to reduce heat emissions from site;
  • Native drought tolerant plants to reduce water consumption by landscape;
  • Low flow plumbing fixtures to reduce water usage;
  • Installation of 294 photovoltaic panels to generate a percentage of the restaurant’s power consumption; and
  • Recycled denim insulation inside the building.

The restaurant features an interactive touch-screen display for visitors to learn about the building, environmental sustainability, and how individuals can reduce their carbon footprint.

Other LEED-certified McDonald’s restaurants are located in Cary, N.C., Savannah, Ga., and Chicago. The Riverside restaurant expects to receive LEED certification within one year.

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