News

Retail theft down slightly in 2011

BY Staff Writer

New Orleans — Despite reporting an uptick in organized retail crime, the National Retail Federation revealed that retail theft rates decreased in 2011, according to preliminary results of the organization’s latest National Retail Security survey.

The results, which were presented at NRF’s Loss Prevention Conference and Expo in New Orleans, revealed that retail shrinkage — a loss of inventory due to employee theft, shoplifting, paperwork errors or supplier fraud — decreased to 1.41% of retail sales in 2011 ($34.5 billion), down from 1.49% in 2010 ($37.1 billion).

According to the preliminary survey findings, the majority of retail shrinkage in 2011 was due to employee theft, which accounted for 43.9% of total losses. Additionally, shoplifting accounted for approximately 35.7% of total losses, up from just over 32% last year. Other losses included administrative error (12.1% of shrinkage) and vendor fraud (5% of shrinkage). Retailers said that the cause of the remaining shrinkage was unknown.

"Retail theft continues to plague the industry, with billions of dollars of merchandise walking out of the store every day without ever being paid for," NRF VP loss Prevention Rich Mellor said. "Fighting these self-serving and unethical criminals has been a tedious battle, but we remain resolute in our efforts and our partnerships with law enforcement to combat this growing problem."

The study, which surveyed 100 retailers in the first half of 2012 and uses data from 2011, is the result of a partnership between the University of Florida and the National Retail Federation.

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Michaels craft expert lends talents to TLC

BY Staff Writer

Irving, Texas — Michaels Stores creative expert Jo Pearson will serve as one of three judges on TLC’s new competition series, "Craft Wars." The show, hosted and executive produced by celebrity crafter Tori Spelling, premieres June 26 at 10 p.m. Eastern (9 p.m. Central time).

"If you can’t glue it, don’t do it! That was my mantra," said Pearson, an author and host of Michaels.com how-to webisodes. "It was the experience of a lifetime, working with Tori and the other judges. And the contestants were awesome, so it made filming a great experience."

Each week, the show pits three contestants against each other to design and complete a project in just one hour. Pearson and her fellow judges Erica Domesek (author of the DIY book "P.S. — I Made This") and Stephen Brown (author and founder of the gift and holiday decor company Glitterville Studios) evaluate the crafts and eliminate one contestant during each show. The last two crafters standing compete in the week’s Master Craft challenge, with a $10,000 grand prize on the line.

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Former Nordstrom exec joins board of shopper app developer

BY Staff Writer

Seattle — Former Nordstrom executive, Loretta Soffe, has joined the advisory board of Zoomingo, which creates shopping discovery apps that help consumers find the best sales in their local stores anywhere in the nation.

Soffe spent 24 years at Nordstrom in buying, merchandising and product development. For the last 10 years, she served as EVP, general merchandise manager of women’s, the largest division in the company with annual sales of $2.0 billion.

"We are delighted to bring on board Loretta Soffe who brings significant consumer retail and merchandising expertise," said Shirish Nadkarni, co-founder of Zoomingo. "Loretta will play a critical role in helping Zoomingo develop both its consumer and retail strategy especially as it relates to making Zoomingo an attractive platform for retailers to reach new mobile audiences."

Zoomingo — a take on "Zoom-in-and-go" — is a unique location-based shopping app that lets consumers find the best sales in their local stores anywhere in the nation, all from the convenience of their smartphones or from the comfort of their home computer. Zoomingo offers shoppers instant access to the largest catalog of local sale items anywhere in the US across more than 70,000 retail outlets from national retailers such as Macy’s, Target and Nordstrom as well as independent boutiques in an easy-to-browse, easy-to-use format. Handy phone numbers and store maps allow the shoppers to visit the stores to complete their purchases.

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