Retailers’ Concerns of Organized Retail Crime Continue to Grow, According to NRF

Regardless of company size or type, loss prevention executives can agree on one thing: organized retail crime
continues to be a major problem and concern across the retail landscape. According to the National Retail Federation’s 2006 Organized Retail Crime survey, released today at NRF’s Loss Prevention Conference in
Minneapolis, 81 percent of loss prevention executives indicated their companies have been a victim of organized retail crime. Almost half (48%) of those polled also said that there has been a slight increase in
activity since last year. These results are consistent with the findings from last year’s survey (48% vs. 46%), bringing to light that the issue is still very real.

Nearly everyone surveyed (93%) said they were concerned about organized retail crime activity and the problem for them is getting worse, not better. Of those polled, 41 percent said organized retail crime was a
significant or severe issue, compared to only 30 percent of respondents last year.

“From loyal shoppers to retail executives, no one is immune from the consequences of organized retail crime,” said NRF Vice President of Loss Prevention Joseph LaRocca. “As more criminals become involved in
organized theft rings, it could become increasingly violent and unpredictable. We are grateful for the law enforcement and legislative initiatives that are working with the retail industry to crack down on
organized retail theft.” 

One complex issue facing retailers is eFencing and Fencing – the selling of stolen goods to other stores, or “fences,” where shoplifters and fraudulent retailers profit from price mark-ups when the merchandise is
put back into the supply chain. When polled, more than half (59%) of loss prevention executives said they have recovered merchandise or gift cards from a physical fence operator and 67 percent of respondents
recovered such goods from eFencing operations.

Due to the vastness and complexity of organized retail crime, the majority (89%) of retailers feel that there is still a need for a national database to track activity and three-fourths (75%) of respondents say they either will or are likely to participate in such a system. Pending federal and state legislation* also supports the
development and maintenance of a nationwide database that helps retailers and law enforcement agencies work together to eliminate organized retail crime. This database, now commonly known as the Retail
Loss Prevention Intelligence Network (RLPIN), along with other industry networking groups, has helped retailers and law enforcement agencies nationwide fully understand just how multifaceted organized retail crime can be. 

The National Retail Federation is the world’s largest retail trade association, with membership that comprises all retail formats and channels of distribution including department, specialty, discount, catalog, Internet, independent stores, chain restaurants, drug stores and grocery stores as well as the industry’s key trading partners of retail goods and services. NRF represents an industry with more than 1.4 million U.S. retail establishments, more than 23 million employees – about one in five American workers – and 2005 sales of $4.4 trillion. As the industry umbrella group, NRF also represents more than 100 state,
national and international retail associations.

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* Federal legislation includes H.R. 3402 and H.R. 32. State legislation is pending in California, Washington, Colorado, New Jersey, Vermont, and Texas.