Retail reality?

Happy New Year everyone! I hope the holidays were a relaxing time because this year looks to be as busy as ever.

Another loss prevention/retail report hit the stands today. This one comes from Retail Systems Research. The study, Winning Trends in Loss Prevention: Benchmark Study 2008, "identifies the internal obstacles retailers face in driving new LP initiatives and the methods retail winners use to overcome these obstacles."

What is most interesting about this report is that RSR found that despite all the noise about "organized crime as a driver of shrink" (I assume this means organized retail crime), the reality is that the sources of shrink remain unchanged. Employee theft, sweethearting, customer theft and administrative errors are still the main cause of shrink, the report says.

I find this quite interesting. Is ORC a major threat for all retailers? No, but it is still pretty significant in the money it draws from retailers — estimated to be $30 million annually. And according to the National Retail Federation's third annual Organized Retail Crime survey, which was released in June, 79 percent of retailers said their company has been a victim of organized retail crime during the past 12 months. In addition, 71 percent reported a noticeable increase in ORC activity during the same time period — a startling increase from 48 percent in 2006.

Maybe not the biggest risk right now, but NRF's data show that this is definitely something all retailers have to keep an eye on. I'm surprised a report would minimize its effect on the industry.