Can ignoring the causes of shrinkage and refocusing strictly on sales solve our inventory issues? 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.
The three major causes that contribute to inventory shrink in any retail operation are internal theft, external theft, and operational compliance. An effective loss prevention program must focus on all three of these areas. Read More
At a time when store margins are under intense competitive pressure, retail shrink can make or break a retailer’s bottom line. But retail shrink numbers are vulnerable to blind spots and imprecise metrics. Read More
If you work in inventory control, your job description likely includes some combination of the responsibilities described in this post. Read More
There is no agreed-upon definition of what constitutes “shrinkage.” Most estimates are based only upon measures of merchandise losses where the cause is unknown. The total retail loss concept offers a new definition of loss. Read More
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 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 LP team be the key to unlocking this new sales opportunity? 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 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 retailers? Read More
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