Employees Vs. Shoplifters: Who Steals More?

2 Dec 2015

As the holiday season approaches, many retailers will be faced with bigger concerns than holiday sales and the rush of people. They will now have to worry about employee theft, which, according to a new report, is a bigger part of retail loss in the United States than shoplifting.

The Global Retail Theft Barometer is an extensive report on shrink (loss of inventory) cost. It uses statistical research based on the loss of inventory to help retailers measure how they perform against averages for specific vertical markets, merchandise and regional geographies.

Shrink which is made up of supplier and employee fraud, administrative errors and shoplifting, increased in America from 1.28 percent of sales between 2013 and 2014 to 1.97 percent in 2014 through 2015.

These statistics were determined based off common retail respondents’ responses both years to Global Retail Theft Barometer surveys. Shrink was up from their previous .94 percent of the past year average of surveyed common retailers to 1.42 percent.

The report indicated that the yearly shrink cost to United States shoppers taken in or accrued from retailers was at an average of over $600 per household. This data was based off of written survey or in-depth phone interviews involving over 200 retailers in 24 different countries characterizing almost a trillion dollars in sales between the years 2014 and 2015.

Employee Theft Vs. Shoplifting

Of the 24 countries surveyed, 18 of them showed that shoplifting was what caused retail shrink the most. In the United States, employee theft came in first at 45 percent rising just above shoplifting at 36 percent.

It’s believed that the US is rampant with employee theft due to things like low wages and wage theft that causes employees to have negative feelings towards their employers. Although increasing wages can get very expensive, particularly for bigger companies, experts in loss-prevention have suggested multiple ways of reducing employee theft.

What Can Companies Do?

Companies can use GPS tracking devices, hidden surveillance cameras, professional investigators, and security to control retail loss. Most every store has blind spots in their security system, which is where hidden cameras come to play. GPS trackers can be placed in large ticket items and shipments to allow the company to follow the stolen items. This can help to prevent inventory shrinkage and theft. The professional investigators work much like secret shoppers, but they slow down shoplifting instead of assuring quality customer service.

Statistics do show a small rife in employee theft, but by raising wages and/or taking a measured approach; there could be a decrease in the numbers, particularly as the economy in the US continues to bolster.

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