Organized Retail Crime (ORC) – Different Strokes for Different Folks?

One would certainly be hard-pressed to find a “hotter” topic in the retail loss prevention space over the last five years than organized retail crime (ORC).  Industry articles, conference presentations, legislative lobbying efforts, and increased efforts on law enforcement liason have largely been focused on this issue.  As we began doing our research and meeting with practitioners, it quickly became apparent there were differing views of ORC and its impact.

Based on what we saw first-hand in visiting with certain retailers, ORC is clearly a significant issue for some operations.  As you can probably discern from industry articles, there seems to be more concern on the part of retailers who sell the following types of goods:

  • fashion apparel
  • high end accessories / designer goods / fragrances
  • OTC / HBA
  • baby formula

This does not mean that every retailer who carries these product lines has the same view on the impact of the issue.  Nor does it suggest that there are no retailers who carry other product assortments who see ORC as a significant threat to their business.   Those retailers do exist.

However, it is clear that there are also many retailers who do not see ORC as a significant issue for their operation or, at least, don’t view it as a top priority relative to other shrinkage and theft related elements.  In fact, one leading Vice-President of Loss Prevention who services two distinct retail operations related that ORC was a significant issue for one of his retail divisions, but not at all significant in the other operation because of the distinctly different product mix and market position.

But, while conducting our research, we sensed a bit of contention between the two ends of the spectrum with ORC advocates advancing the thought that retailers who don’t think they have an ORC problem “have their heads in the sand” while those on the other side of the proverbial fence feel as if ORC has received too much attention and is “a game of cops and robbers.”

We hope the white paper and the commentary posts we will be making in the upcoming days on this topic will help everyone look at the issue with some balance and perspective.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.