WASHINGTON – Retailers lost $44 billion to inventory shrink last year, a new security survey reveals.
The disappearing merchandise, lost to shoplifting, employee and vendor theft, and administrative error, averaged 1.4 percent of retail sales, the National Retail Security Survey (NRSS) shows.
Produced by the National Retail Federation (NRF), here, and the University of Florida, the survey showed that shoplifting accounted for the largest part of reported shrink in 2014, or 38 percent of losses, according to retailer estimates.
After shoplifting, the greatest inventory loses were to employee/internal theft (34.5 percent); administrative and paperwork errors (16.5 percent); vendor fraud or error (6.8 percent); and “unknown loss” (6.1 percent).
Despite the $44 billion hit, University of Florida criminology professor Dr. Richard Hollinger, lead author of the survey, said the shrink percentage was the lowest in the project’s 24-year history.
“Retailers should continue to work together as an industry to ensure continued partnerships, with the end goal of finding the most effective asset protection solutions possible,” Hollinger said.