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NRF Says Retailers Lose $112 Billion Amid ‘Unprecedented Levels of Theft’


Retail crime has become a growing concern for retailers in the United States, with incidents on the rise and significant financial losses being incurred.

Shrink accounted for $112.1 billion in losses in 2022, up from $93.9 billion the previous year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said in a Tuesday (Sept. 26) press release.

“Retailers are seeing unprecedented levels of theft coupled with rampant crime in their stores, and the situation is only becoming more dire,” David Johnston, vice president for asset protection and retail operations at NRF, said in the release.

The average shrink rate in 2022 rose to 1.6%, up from 1.4% in the previous year, according to the release. Internal and external theft accounted for nearly two-thirds (65%) of retail shrink.

Organized retail crime (ORC) has also seen a rise in violence, with more than two-thirds (67%) of respondents reporting an increase in violence and aggression from ORC perpetrators compared to the previous year, the release said.

“Far beyond the financial impact of these crimes, the violence and concerns over safety continue to be the priority for all retailers, regardless of size or category,” Johnston said in the release.

As a result of the escalating levels of theft and crime, retailers have been forced to take drastic measures to ensure the safety of their customers and employees, per the release. This includes closing specific store locations, reducing operating hours and altering in-store product selection.

To combat the increasing violence associated with retail crime, more retailers have started adopting a “hands off” approach when it comes to apprehending shoplifters, according to the press release. Forty-one percent of retailers reported that no employees are authorized to stop or apprehend shoplifters, compared to 38% the previous year.

Shoplifters are targeting a wide range of products, including both high-price fashion items and everyday products with fast resale capability, the release said. Items that are commonly stolen include outerwear, batteries, energy drinks, designer footwear and kitchen accessories.

In response to the evolving scope and sophistication of retail crime, retailers are increasing their prevention efforts, per the release. Those efforts include increasing internal payroll, using third-party security personnel and investing in technology and software solutions. Employee workplace violence training has also been increased to ensure the safety of staff.

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