Category Archives: Industry News

National Retail Security Survey – 2009

The final report for the 2009 National Retail Security Survey has been published.  As previewed at this year’s NRF Loss Prevention Conference, the shrink results from this report are tied at an all-time low of 1.44% of sales.  Despite the “sky is falling” mentality reflected in many articles and press releases over the past year and a half, retailers are actually seeing a decrease in shrinakge.  This mirrors what I’ve been hearing from loss prevention executives across the retail spectrum and what I predicted in our NRF panel this year the day before Dr. Hollinger released his preliminary report.

The last three years of this report reflect three lowest shrink figures in the eighteen years of this study.  Maybe it is time we start to celebrate some of the success we are seeing in our industry and take some of the credit?  What do you think?

Mandatory Harassment Training Laws

While there are no federal requirements for mandatory training of employees or supervisors on the issue of sexual harassment, many states have enacted or are considering some type of mandatory training.  For instance, California has one of the strictest laws requiring not only new hire training, but also recurring training.  But, don’t assume that California is the exception as Connecticut and Maine also have mandated requirements for private sector companies and states such as Hawaii, Massachussets, Maryland, Ohio, and others “strongly encourage” such training.

If your organization is not conducting this type of training, there is significant risk of increased liability and sanction should a workplace harassment situation should occur.

EAS Tag Pollution Study

Here is a link to an interesting blog post over at www.retailfraud.com on the results of a recent study on EAS tag pollution.  It is UK based and done by a vendor company, but does seem to ring true to many people’s experience in other parts of the world, as well.

The key call-outs:

  • 57% of shoppers felt embarrassed by false alarms sounding on security tags in their bags.
  • 72% of incidents were in full view of other shoppers.
  • 77% of incidents nothing was said to the shopper when they had their bags checked
  • 28% of case, shoppers were asked to go back into the store to have their bags checked while 26% simply had the tag de-activated and they were allowed on their way.

One difference in the UK is the more pervasive use of security guards at retail exits and, as a result, the majority of these interactions were conducted by security personnel, not retail employees.  You can read the full post here.

UK Survey on Investigative Technology and Capability

I received a note this past week about a  new survey by intelligence and investigation management software solutions specialist, ABM.  The study, ‘ABM Investigation Survey 2010′, surveyed the opinions of 72 investigation professionals from a range of large organisations in the United Kingdom, including retail and consumer product specialists. The objective was to gain a clearer understanding of businesses’ ability to manage investigations by examining what changes have occurred over the last 24 months and their impact on cases.

According to their survey, more than half of businesses surveyed experienced an increase in theft (52%) and fraud (49%) over the last two years. Alarmingly however, investigation personnel numbers have decreased for one in four (25%) organisations, while budgets to investigate and reduce incidents have also diminished for three in ten (29%) organisations. Investigation teams continue to face the challenge to do more with less to help protect the bottom-line. Astonishingly however, despite these pressures, two in five (43%) organisations believe their investigative effectiveness has improved over the last two years.

Some of the findings include how criminal attacks on organisations’ profits increase and how US investigation teams more tech savvy than UK counterparts. The full report can be downloaded here.

Refund Fraud: Finding the Right Policy

Retailers continue to struggle to find the right balance with their return policies where their good customers are not negatively impacted while recognizing the need to deal with fraudulent returns.  At last week’s NRF show, two senior LP executives that I respect gave their views and results. 

Bruce Pyke, DVP of Loss Prevention and Security at Bon-Ton Stores and Ray Cotton, Director of Security Operations at Orchard Supply Hardware, spoke about how their respective companies took the plunge into a return policy change – and how it impacted customers in the process.  A nice summary of their presenation can be found here.