One question I have been asked frequently is, “How did you know how to battle retail shrink in the grocery business, especially considering your background is predominantly in discount retail?” My response to that question is almost always the same, which is: “I follow the loss prevention road map.” Often Read More
In the retail environment, the term “shrink” or “shrinkage” refers to the difference between the amount of merchandise (or inventory) that the company owns on its books, and the results of a physical count of the merchandise. Shrink can come in many forms, and impact a business in many different ways. The primary causes of retail shrink include operational errors, internal issues, and external losses.
• Operational errors can involve POS software glitches, paperwork issues and other operational missteps. These incidents typically occur when processing a transaction, receiving merchandise, shipping merchandise, or taking inventory.
• External losses can involve theft by customers (primarily shoplifting), issues involving vendors, or other incidents that pertain to those not working for the company.
• Internal losses are the result of incidents that involve store associates and other company employees who take advantage of opportunities to steal from the company.
In addition to theft issues, damage, waste and spoilage can directly contribute to a company’s losses.
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When merchandise is stolen or otherwise unaccounted for, it not only impacts the company as a result of the missing product, but also skews our inventories in other ways. This not only impacts current sales, but also affects product replenishment and future sales as well. This can have a significant impact on the bottom line, and a direct influence on the health of the company. Every year, shrink issues cost retail businesses tens of billions of dollars. This is a real and growing problem that affects all of us in a variety of different ways.
This is a much more complicated problem than simply accounting for the theft of merchandise and the direct loss of profits. Managing shrink is a critical aspect of inventory control, which involves the management of the supply, accessibility, storage, and delivery of the company’s goods. As a result, retail shrink reduction strategies require a multifaceted and broad-based approach in order to successfully manage the process.
While the perception of shrinkage among the loss prevention industry has evolved from thinking about loss strictly in terms of theft to the consideration of all causes of inventory discrepancy, this change in approach hasn’t necessarily diffused into all of the other teams in a retail organization. Retail buyers are Read More
In the mature and highly competitive retail sector, ensuring that the right product is on the right shelf at the right time is critical. Yet the problem of shelf out-of-stocks (OOS) remains as stubborn as ever. Could the loss prevention team be the key to unlocking this new sales opportunity?
This Read More
In the 2015 US Retail Fraud Survey, retailers across the country identified analytics and monitoring as the number one area of need. With the average US retailer experiencing shrinkage at a level comprising 1.3 percent of total sales (resulting in an annual $60 billion loss industry-wide), it’s no wonder that Read More
There is little consensus on what constitutes “loss” within the retail world nor how it should be measured. The terms “shrinkage” and “shortage” have been loosely applied to encapsulate some of the areas that generate loss, but they are not terms enjoying a clear and agreed-upon definition across the sector. Read More
In April 2014, the ECR Europe Shrink and On-shelf Availability Group received a special award from ECR Europe to celebrate 15 years of the group and the delivery of an estimated €1.5 billion (~ $1.6 billion) in savings for the industry.
As Sir Terry Leahy, former CEO of Tesco, once said Read More
An audit is a tool – not a test. Loss prevention audits should serve to make a store or other facility more efficient and more profitable, working with the store teams and providing a means to train and develop the associates. It is vital that we approach our audit functions with Read More
In his bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey presented a holistic, principle-based approach for solving personal and professional problems. This got the ECR team thinking, what if for “highly effective people,” we read “low-inventory shrink retailers”? What then would be the habits of low- shrink Read More
Inventory loss is a fact of life in retail. When maintained at acceptable levels, it’s simply the cost of doing business, much like payroll and other operating expenses. However, when shortage begins to inexplicably trend upward, whether on a store-by-store basis, or even across a chain, it becomes imperative to view the Read More
Few things are as frustrating for a loss prevention leader than discovering a bad packaging design they know will promote retail shrink, which could so easily have been prevented if those who created and approved the packaging had included shrink reduction in the initial design criteria. For example, in a Read More