In an organized retail crime (ORC) survey, the National Retail Federation found that 92 percent of respondents were victims of the practice in the past year. And nearly three-quarters — or 71 percent — of companies said that incidents were on the rise, the federation said in a press release.
NRF Vice President of Loss Prevention Bob Moraca said in the press release, “Retailers continue to deal with increasing challenges and complications surrounding organized retail crime. These criminals find new ways to expand their networks and manipulate the retail supply chain every day.”
According to retailers, the shift could come through a variety of factors such as gift card fraud and the online sale of stolen items as well as a shortage of staff in stores. The demand for certain items or specific brands can also help fuel the practice. At the same time, some states have increased the threshold for theft to be a felony. As a result, thieves can take more goods and still have the crime be considered a misdemeanor, while avoiding the higher punishments of a felony. In all, the survey found that losses averaged $777,877 for each billion in sales, which is higher than 2017’s figure of $726,351.
And, in terms of another statistic, retailers lose $14 billion annually due to “scan avoidance,” a situation that occurs when items are bagged at the register without ever being scanned. That’s according to the National Retail Federation, and the figure actually represents a decline since the height of theft at the register in 2015.
The practice can come in a variety of forms. It can be committed by customers or by employees themselves who employ scan avoidance accidentally or deliberately. And shoppers can be even more negligent at self-checkouts. They may feel as if they can take an item without paying for it in the event that the system does not work properly.