Keep an Eye on Your Stuff reported last week that retail shrinkage reached $41.6 billion last year, or 1.62 percent of retail sales.  The figure was a slight increase from 1.61 percent in 2005.  The figures come from the National Retail Federation.

According to the NRF, 47% of the lost dollars come from employee theft, 32% from shoplifting, and the rest from faulty bookkeeping and other causes.  You might think that big retailers are more subject to loss, but according to Wal*Mart, their shrinkage is less than average although they admit that it is becoming a larger problem.  It’s estimated that they lost more than $3 Billion last year.  Sounds like a pretty big problem to me!

Bottom line, don’t be complacent.  Keep an eye on your merchandise and train your employees to do the same.  Of course, as the figures show, employees are a bigger threat than customers.  But, as the report says, as many as one in twelve "shoppers" may actually be shoplifters.  If you make it clear that you’re on top of things and that you’re keeping a watchful eye on your investment, you’ll be less likely to become a victim of theft.

Of course, there are a number of security devices available, including video surveillance, that have become very inexpensive.  Now might be a good time to review your procedures and make the necessary changes.

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