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Breaking News in the Industry: December 28, 2016

CargoNet, FreightWatch warn against holiday season cargo theft

Cargo theft recording firms CargoNet and FreightWatch International are warning trucking companies, drivers and shippers about an increased risk of cargo theft during the holiday season. Nearly 150 reports of theft involving trucks and trailers have been recorded in the U.S. and Canada between Dec. 23 and Jan. 2 since 2012, according to CargoNet. The most common days for cargo theft during the holiday season have been Dec. 29 and Jan. 1, with 11 incidents each on those days, followed by Dec. 24 with 10 incidents, CargoNet says. In total during the last four holiday seasons, CargoNet recorded $5.8 million in cargo losses.

Texas led the way with 31 thefts during the four-year period, followed by Georgia with 20 and California with 19. Food and beverage items have been the most-targeted, accounting for 31 cargo thefts worth an average of $62,717. Apparel and accessories were the next most common thefts with 10 worth an average of $457,293.  CargoNet adds that most of the incidents occurred in unsecured locations such as parking lots, truck stops and warehouses. The firm says the best theft deterrents include physical security measures, such as high visibility lighting, secured yards, high-security locks and security staff.

FreightWatch says that with both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day occurring on Sunday this year, many receiving facilities’ schedules will be adjusted, leaving more opportunity for freight to be parked for extra time. Freight Watch recommends truckers and carriers confirming holiday hours with receivers to help prevent any unnecessary layovers with loaded trucks. The group says in-transit and warehouse operations will be heavily targeted around the holidays and suggest using “covert GPS tracking with an active monitoring program” to mitigate threats and assist in the recovery process in the event of a theft.

Notable thefts from recent holiday seasons recorded by CargoNet include:
•    $1 million worth of apparel and accessories from a warehouse in Newark, N.J.
•    $1 million worth of footwear from a secured yard in Edison, N.J.
•    $599,600 worth of footwear from a secured yard in Long Beach, Calif.
•    $250,000 worth of wine from a parking lot in Orlando, Fla.
•    $205,000 worth of food and beverages from an unsecured yard in Hanover Park, Ill.

- Digital Partner -

Police seek south hill Kohl’s ORC suspects

Washington state Sheriff’s detectives are asking for help identifying four suspects who allegedly worked together to steal merchandise from the Kohl’s location along Meridian Avenue East. The Pierce County Sheriff’s office says the four conducted an “organized retail theft” on Dec. 12. The group entered the store around 11 p.m. and filled bags with merchandise. The suspects allegedly store a beard trimmer, a Kitchen Aid mixer, plus clothing. They fled through an emergency exit. Police say the suspects drive a silver or gray four-door truck. [Source:]

Shoplifter left baby behind while fleeing Publix

A Florida man is accused of leaving a baby behind in its stroller while he fled from a loss-prevention officer at Publix, according to Eustis police.  A Publix loss prevention officer saw Robert Hughes, 26, put a bottle of Axe shampoo, miniature hot dogs and a bottle of Lamarco Prosecco in the baby stroller and then exit the store without paying, according to an arrest affidavit. An infant was inside the stroller.

When the loss prevention officer approached Hughes outside the store, he ran away, leaving the baby behind in its stroller, police said. A woman approached the stroller and told the loss-prevention officer that Hughes was her boyfriend. The girlfriend called Hughes and got him to come back to the store, police said. When a police officer arrived at Publix, Hughes repeatedly game him the wrong name, according to the report. The officer said Hughes tensed up and tried to pull away as he was being cuffed. Hughes ignored the officer’s commands to stop resisting, so the officer kneed him in the side, the report said. Hughes is charged with petit theft, providing a false name while lawfully detained and resisting without violence.  [Source:]

Walmart cashier accused of stealing $2,000 in merchandise

Milton police have charged a Walmart cashier after they said she stole nearly $2,000 in merchandise from her employer.

Police told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik loss prevention officers at the Windward Parkway location of the retail giant noticed inventory discrepancies and went back to look at surveillance video of cashier Sienna Drew Gray.

“They noticed over a term of a week, that on six different occasions, had been ringing up items and voiding them out in the same transaction or sometimes just not ringing them up at all,” said Captain Shawn McCarty.  “It was the same customer each time.”

McCarty said police were still trying to identify the other customer with whom they believe Drew Gray was working.  Police arrested the Atlanta woman on Dec. 19 and charged her with felony theft.

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“Usually the largest amount of loss from any business is internal theft, and in this case loss prevention was very adept and finding out what was going on,” McCarty said.

Petchenik spoke to a security expert whose company specializes in helping companies avoid hiring problematic employees in the first place.

“The issue with only relying on a criminal background screen is you’re only understanding is what someone has been caught doing in the past,” said Marc Goldberg, CEO of Verensics.

In this case, online jail records show Drew Gray had no previous felony arrests, at least in Fulton County.

Goldberg’s company administers an online questionnaire to a company’s prospective hire that can help them determine whether a person has the “propensity” to commit a crime.

“We use core analytics to understand the level or risk associated with an individual,” he said. “That risk can be whether it’s workplace violence or fraud or bribery, any sort of counterproductive behavior.”

Drew Gray has bonded out of jail.  [Source:]

Retail winners and losers so far this holiday season

No, the holiday shopping season isn’t over; neither is the fourth quarter for retailers and restaurants. Hence, we can very easily get some big moves up and down for said sectors, as investors position ahead of pre-announcements in early January (earnings due out in February). Although the holiday shopping season has been decidedly mixed, there have been winners (beyond Action Alerts PLUS portfolio holding TJX Companies ) and losers (beyond Sears ).
Here are several to consider in each category:

Under Armour: The stock hasn’t done much since the company’s warning back in October with respect to its long-term profit guidance. But it’s hard to imagine the company, which is held in the Growth Seeker portfolio, backing away from that cautious commentary and taking a cautious stance on 2017 guidance when it announces earnings based on trends during the holiday season.

There was just a ton of discounted sportswear product in the market this season from Nike , Adidas, Under Armour. The extent of the discounting bordered on irrational, and likely took its toll on Under Armour’s profit margins and maybe its (to a lesser extent) premium brand positioning. My local Marshall’s has looked like an Under Armour store since Black Friday.

- Digital Partner -

Deckers Outdoor: Let’s be real, we are having another warm winter. From recent stories of the North Pole melting due to record warm temperatures and a lack of snow across the country, it’s clear Mother Nature isn’t making it easy for apparel and boot sellers. Couple this factor, which is causing high levels of discounting in stores, with people continuing to favor athleisure styles (which fosters purchases of sneakers as opposed to boots) and it’s hard to say Decker’s will hit its full year earnings guidance (which it cut in October).

Polo Ralph Lauren: The company’s inventory plunged 15% from the prior year in the most recent quarter, as new executives are pulling the clothes from unprofitable department store locations. In turn, that is leading to less inventory in the off-price channel. The goal of doing this is getting Polo back to being viewed as a more premium brand. I think the efforts were definitely on display this holiday season — the off price stores weren’t overrun with Polo gear and department store floors weren’t swamped with merchandise. In some cases, stores that once had Polo shops no longer had them. Although it’s too early to buy the stock, it’s important to see the company’s transformation starting to gain traction. It’s going to take a few more quarters, but the ship is turning.

Starbucks: Do I continue to have concerns that the law of large (sales) numbers have caught up to Action Alerts PLUS portfolio name Starbucks’ important U.S. business and the Street hasn’t adjusted? Sure. Do I think the company has a ton going on now (which could weigh on execution), more so than the norm? You bet. But in the end, it was likely another strong year for Starbucks gift cards –and that could prove quite helpful in getting new rewards members ahead of the start of suggested selling.

The importance of this launch shouldn’t be discounted — the ability to jump inside a person’s brain and suggest items you basically know they like is powerful. Also, the company has had steady stream of new products (mostly in coffee) out this holiday season that could have caused people to trade up during their daily visit.[Source:]


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