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Sep. 15, 2022

U.S. Retail Shrink $95 Billion Problem

Retail shrink in the U.S., when taken as a percentage of total retail sales in 2021, accounted for $94.5 billion in losses last year, up from $90.8 billion in 2020, says the ‘2022 National Retail Security Survey’ by the National Retail Federation (NRF). Organized retail crime (ORC), a critical component of that shrink, is a growing challenge both for retailers and the industry at large. “The factors contributing to retail shrink have multiplied in recent years and ORC is a burgeoning threat within the retail industry," says Mark Mathews, vice-president for research development and industry analysis with NRF. “These highly sophisticated criminal rings jeopardize employee and customer safety and disrupt store operations. Retailers are bolstering security efforts to counteract these increasingly dangerous and aggressive criminal activities.” The survey says the average shrink rate in 2021 was 1.44 per cent, a slight decrease from the last two years but comparable to the five-year average of 1.5 per cent. In-store, eCommerce and omnichannel fraud have also risen. Violence is a growing area of concern and retailers are prioritizing addressing guest-on-associate violence, external theft, and ORC. Home improvement, home furnishings and housewares, and electronics/appliances were among the top categories targeted by criminals.

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