Breaking News in the Industry: March 1, 2019

Shoplifting

Employees indicted for colluding to steal $100,000 worth of merchandise

Three Meijer employees in Illinois are accused of working together to steal nearly $100,000 worth of merchandise from the store  in Rockford on McFarland Road. Authorities say the women orchestrated the thefts between November and January.Lindsey N. Smallwood, Helena Washington and Vanessa M. Horvath each were charged with one count of retail theft. Horvath also was charged with one count of theft.

Police started investigating on February 1 when loss prevention associates at the store discovered the theft, according to a news release from the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s office. All three women were indicted by a Winnebago County grand jury.   [Source: rrstar.com]

Armed robber sentenced to 15 years in the big house after shootout

The Minnesota man who was charged with robbing an Inver Grove Heights cellphone store has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. Thrity-four-year-old Jamaal Mays pleaded guilty to the 2017 armed robbery in September of last year. His co-defendant, Jaquon Moman, 26, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years in prison in January.

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According to Mays’ guilty plea and other documents filed in court, the men entered a Verizon Wireless store in Inver Grove Heights on August 17, 2017. With a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, they waited for customers to leave the store before holding a store employee at gunpoint while demanding money and cellphones. Police said the employee shot Mays in self-defense while pretending to comply, police said, and Mays shot his firearm as well. A stray bullet grazed another worker in an adjacent restaurant during the exchange.

Both men were each convicted of one count of robbery and one count of discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.“These defendants showed complete disregard for human life when they made the decision to commit armed robbery of a business establishment located in a busy suburban retail area,” United States Attorney Erica MacDonald said. “Such brazen acts of violence will not be tolerated in our communities and we, along with our law enforcement partners, are committing all necessary resources to bringing violent criminals to justice.”    [Source: CBS4 WCCO News]

Three retailers announce 300 more store closings in one day

Gap, JCPenney, and Victoria’s Secret announced more than 300 store closures over the course of 24 hours this week, sending a clear signal that the fallout from the retail apocalypse is far from over. Gap said Thursday that it would close 230 namesake stores over the next two years as it reported that the brand’s same-store sales fell 7% during the holiday quarter.

Earlier in the day, JCPenney said it would close 27 stores in 2019, including 18 full-line department stores and 9 home and furniture stores. The department-store chain said same-store sales fell 4% during the fourth quarter.

Victoria’s Secret’s same-store sales also fell during the holidays, dropping 3% during the quarter. The company said late Wednesday that it would close 53 stores this year, citing a “decline in performance.” These announcements will bring the number of planned store closures this year to nearly 4,500.   [Source: Business Insider]

New survey reveals how retail employees perceive growing technology taking jobs

Two out of three retail workers believe that technology will eventually replace some of their job responsibilities, underscoring the rising concern about the impact of automation and cutting-edge technology on the workplace. That’s according to a new survey Thursday by The Fair Workweek Initiative, a project spawned from the non-profit labor-monitoring groups The Center for Popular Democracy and Organization United for Respect. The report is intended to reveal how U.S. retail employees perceive the growing use of technology in their daily work-lives. In short, they see it as both a concern and potential opportunity.

Organizations like the World Economic Forum have forecast that innovations like machine learning will significantly alter the labor market, potentially leading to major job losses while creating new kinds of work. The retail sector is particularly prone to major disruption, led by online giant Amazon as it increases spending on new technology in an effort to cut costs. Overall, the survey shows that retail workers are “optimistic about technology,” said Carrie Gleason, director of the Fair Workweek Initiative. For instance, 62% of the respondents agreed with that notion that new technologies would create new job opportunities.   [Source: Fortune]

Organized retail crime basics

Organized Retail Crime (or ORC, as it is sometimes known) remains a consistent and remarkably expensive problem for retailers. According to a National Retail Federation survey, retailers in the U.S. alone lose almost $50 billion to theft every year. This article helps explain what organized retail crime is, and how as a retailer or loss prevention manager, you can use physical security measures to protect against it.

There are varying definitions of this group of crime, but the most thorough definition comes courtesy of the Loss Prevention Foundation: “Organized retail crime (ORC) involves the association of two or more persons engaged in illegally obtaining retail merchandise in substantial quantities through both theft and fraud as part of an unlawful commercial enterprise.” ORC therefore includes many forms of retail theft, ranging from credit and gift card fraud through to e-fraud and identity theft.In this article though, the focus is mainly on the physical security side of ORC, and what you can do to help protect your premises against retail theft.  (This article continues on the source website).    [Source: Security Today]

Gap says they will spin off Old Navy

Gap on Thursday announced it will create two independent publicly traded companies: Old Navy and a yet-to-be-named company (dubbed NewCo for now), which will include the Gap brand, Athleta, Banana Republic, Intermix and Hill City.

Following a comprehensive review, executives determined that Old Navy’s business model and customers have “increasingly diverged from our specialty brands over time, and each company now requires a different strategy to thrive moving forward,” Robert Fisher, Gap Inc. board chairman, said in a statement.
 The spin-off is intended to maximize “focus and flexibility, align investments and incentives to meet its unique business needs,” the company said ahead of its earnings call yesterday.

“Today’s spin-off announcement enables us to embed those capabilities within two stand-alone companies, each with a sharpened strategic focus and tailored operating structure,” Art Peck, president and CEO of Gap Inc, said in a statement. “As a result, both companies will be well positioned to capitalize on their respective opportunities and act decisively in an evolving retail environment.”   [Source: RetailDIVE]

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