Breaking News in the Industry: June 17, 2016

Home Depot Says US Credit Card Firms Slow to Upgrade Security in Lawsuit

Visa and MasterCard are using security measures prone to fraud, putting retailers and customers at risk of hacking attacks by cyber thieves, The Home Depot Inc. says in a new federal lawsuit. Atlanta-based Home Depot says new payment cards with so-called “chip” technology, rolled out in the U.S. in recent years, remain less secure than cards used in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Even with chips, US cards still rely on customers’ hand-written signatures for verification, rather than more secure Personal Identification Numbers, or PINs, Home Depot maintains. [Chicago Tribune]

Shoplifting: Retail’s $45 Billion Problem

Retailers are struggling to keep tabs on shoplifters who are increasingly becoming their top source of loss, averaging $377 per incidence, up $60 from the year before. At 39 percent, shoplifting was found to be the biggest contributor among factors that led to overall inventory shrinkage in 2015 causing a $45.2 billion loss across the United States, according to NRF’s 2016 National Retail Security survey. The new numbers reflect a $1.2 billion increase in losses from 2014. The inventory shrink averaged 1.38 percent of retail sales and saw 47 percent of retailers reporting losses in 2015. “With a constantly evolving retail landscape, loss prevention becomes more complex every day,” said NRF Vice President of Loss Prevention Bob Moraca. “LP professionals have been working diligently to find advancements in technology aimed at deterring crime in our industry, sometimes even before it happens – but as our techniques get more sophisticated, so too do the criminals.” [PYMNTS]

Man Charged with Felony after Shoplifting at Walmart

42-year-old Robert James Salyards of Hickory, NC was arrested by Hickory Police on felony counts of breaking & entering and larceny after breaking & entering. Loss Prevention had watched as the suspect switched the price tags on a wrench set and also removed a shop-vac from its box, replacing it with Bushnell headlamps, baitcasters, trail knives and Super Blue glue. Salyards then took tape off the shelves and used it to re-seal the box. Loss Prevention detained the suspect after he passed the last point of sale. The merchandise Salyards attempted to take was valued at $236. Salyards was arrested without incident and placed in the Catawba Co. Detention Facility under a $20,000 secured bond. A first appearance in District Court was scheduled for today in Newton. [WHKY]

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Future of Retail: Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality Have Big Roles to Play

From artificial intelligence to virtual reality, emerging technologies are rewriting the retail playbook at a rapid pace, suggests J. Walter Thompson Intelligence in a new report called Frontier(less) Retail. Launched in collaboration with WWD, the report explores the idea that brands and retailers are increasingly putting innovation at the core of their strategies. This relates to everything from digital integration through to the more future-looking technologies helping to shift their businesses forward. [Forbes]

ApplePay Expanding to Websites, Challenging PayPal

Apple Pay is widely seen as the leader in mobile payments, accepted at more than 1.5 million locations across the United States and handling some two-thirds of all contact-less payments. This move, though limited to its own ecosystem, could help solidify Apple’s place in consumers minds and go further in replacing the “top of wallet” card they use to checkout, both online and in-store. Avoiding the need to type in credit card information is a big plus for retailers, who are always on the hunt for processes that will speed up and simplify online checkout times and decrease the number of abandoned shopping carts online. Reducing the buying process to one click, as PayPal has done, places Apple in direct competition with the payment company. [RetailDive]

Maine Educator Who Won $1M Teaching Award Must Donate Prize after Shoplifting Plea

Maybe now she’s learned her lesson. A Maine educator who won a $1 million teaching award last year and then was caught shoplifting a $15 blouse from a department store must donate the prize money to her own school as part of a plea deal reached Monday. Nancie Atwell, 64, will also have to stay out of trouble for the next two years, perform 100 hours of community service and undergo a psychological evaluation if her charges are to be dropped, the Portland Press Herald reported. She was caught on surveillance video swiping the blouse in March but said she was merely exchanging the garment. “I am not guilty,” Atwell told the newspaper in April. “This is a misunderstanding. I have no further comment.” [DailyNews]

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