OPERATIONS

Retailers welcome ports contract as ‘good news’

BY Marianne Wilson

It appears that retailers’ holiday shipments will not be disrupted by labor disputes for the next few years.

Labor and management at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports have reached tentative agreement on a six-year contract renewal, the National Retail Federation said on Thursday.

“This is good news,” said Jonathan Gold, NRF VP for supply chain and customs policy. “This agreement is very important for retailers who are now in the process of bringing in their holiday season merchandise and were worried that the current contract could have expired right in the middle of that season. Retailers can now count on receiving their merchandise without disruption to the supply chain.”

“This ensures that we will have stability at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports over the next six years,” Gold said. “That’s a good, long time.”

The International Longshoremen’s Association and the United Maritime Alliance announced this afternoon that they have reached tentative agreement on a six-year contract covering East Coast and Gulf Coast ports that would take effect after the current contract expires on Sept. 30. The two sides have until July 10 to finalize the agreement, which will then be subject to ratification votes by the full membership of each group.

NRF led more than 100 organizations in a March letter to the union and management urging both parties to resume talks after negotiations broke down earlier this year. The letter noted that East Coast and Gulf Coast ports picked up business after prolonged contract talks led to a slowdown and congestion issues at West Coast ports during 2014 and early 2015.

If talks had not resumed, some of that business could have been lost back to the West Coast, the letter warned, saying contract-related disruptions can have “enormous adverse economic impacts.”

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NRF: Retail loss ‘shrinks’ in 2017

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Retailers are making progress when it comes to fighting criminal activity and lowering their shrink rates.

Thefts, fraud and losses from other retail “shrink” decreased to $46.8 billion in 2017 from $48.9 billion the year before, according to the annual National Retail Security Survey released today by the National Retail Federation and the University of Florida.

According to the data, shrink averaged 1.33% of sales, down from 1.44% the year before. A total of 59% of retailers surveyed said shrink was flat or decreasing, up from 51%. Only 41% said shrink was growing, down from 49%.

“Retailers are making progress in combating criminal activity, but there are still many challenges,” NRF VP of loss prevention (LP) Bob Moraca said. “Whether the threat is coming from cybersecurity, organized retail crime or employee theft, the job for retail security teams continues to become more difficult every day, especially when resources and staff are limited.”

Shoplifting and organized retail crime continued to be the leading causes, accounting for 36% of losses. This was followed by internal employee theft (33%), administrative paperwork errors (19%) and vendor fraud or mistake (6%).

The most substantial losses per incident came from retail robberies, at an average $4,237.02 each (down from $5,309.72 the year before), followed by employee theft at $1,203.16 (down from $1,922.80), and shoplifting/ORC at $559 (down from $798.48).

For the first time in the survey, retailers were asked about their role in combating cybercrime. Two-thirds of LP executives said they meet at least quarterly with IT/cybersecurity counterparts to discuss potential threats, and 86% said their companies have a cybersecurity incident response plan in place.

Cybersecurity concerns are top-of-mind for retailers today as criminals continue to become more sophisticated in this area,” said Richard Hollinger, a veteran University of Florida criminology professor and the lead author of the report. “This is a growing threat that will require more resources going forward. Retail executives need to invest more in loss prevention to reduce these losses to their bottom line.”

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Tuesday Morning steps up security efforts

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Tuesday Morning isn’t taking any chances when it comes to the performance of its security solutions.

The retailer used to operate its own central station to monitor its alarm systems. Through its partnership with ADT however, Tuesday Morning relies on the provider to convert all systems and monitor both intrusion detection and fire alarm panels, where applicable.

Taking the partnership one step further, Tuesday Morning has entered into a new extended service plan with the provider. Now ADT manages all of the retailer’s security solutions, as well as installs and services the company’s IP-based video systems, according to the retailer.

Tuesday Morning has also adopted ADT’s eSuite Account Management tool which helps the company streamline the administration of their security solutions from a single secure portal or any connected mobile device. The retailer can view data, modify schedules, view tests, incidents, alarms and service calls — while providing audit trails and reporting for compliance, according to Tuesday Morning.

The retailer is also part of ADT’s 1Touch program, administered out of its National Account Operations Center. This entitles Tuesday Morning to a dedicated project manager and a support team.

“Their professional monitoring stations provide us with greater peace of mind that our stores, our associates, and our guests are well protected,” said Sanford Siegel, Tuesday Morning’s senior manager of loss prevention and safety.

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