Traditional approaches to managing retail loss have largely focused upon dealing with the issue of shrinkage, a periodic measure dating back over 140 years, that typically captures the difference between expected and actual stock values. Shrinkage calculations offer little, if any, insights into the root causes of loss. As the complexity of retailing continues to accelerate, the capacity to assimilate data and the range of risks retail now faces have increased considerably. Relying upon this single measure of loss to guide strategy is increasingly anachronistic.
Championed by the Retail Industry Leaders Association, the Total Retail Loss concept offers a much more progressive and inclusive approach to understanding how retail risks impact profitability. This podcast features Professor Adrian Beck who developed the concept along with Pamela Velose of Belk, Seth Hughes from REI, Rob LaCommare of Big Lots, and Bill Inzeo, formerly of Walgreens and now with Zebra Analytics.
The panelists make the case for why adopting this concept will enable retailers to develop a strategic approach to not only recognizing the true cost of retail loss, but also how to return value to the bottom line. However, this path includes many challenges through the change needed in retail.
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After graduating from the University of Leicester in 1988, Professor Adrian Beck worked with Professor John Benyon and others to establish the Centre for the Study of Public Order, which became the Scarman Centre in the mid-1990s and subsequently the Department of Criminology in the early 2000s. He was Head of the Department of Criminology from 2009 until 2015 and in 2017 became an Emeritus Professor at the University of Leicester. His research sponsored by the Retail Industry Leaders Association led to the development of the Total Retail Loss concept.
Pamela Velose joined Belk as vice president of asset protection and safety in April 2018 where she is responsible for AP and safety programs in stores, corporate office, DCs, and fulfillment centers. In July 2020 she added a focus on corporate and store operations. Velose has been in retail loss prevention for over 25 years in various roles with Macy’s, including director of AP, director of investigations, and regional VP of AP.
Seth Hughes is director of asset protection, business continuity, and health & safety for REI where he leads their AP, safety, business continuity, and internal audit strategies. With 27 years in retail, he is known for designing, developing, and deploying transformational programs and technology solutions to drive operational excellence and profitability. Prior to joining REI in 2018, Hughes led the divisional technology and omni-channel theft and fraud analytics for Walgreens as well as Target’s retail operations, organized retail crime, and human resources divisions.
Robert LaCommare, CFI, is vice president of asset protection and safety at Big Lots, where he is responsible for asset protection, safety, business continuity, and crisis response functions, as well as e-commerce fraud prevention. LaCommare has over 29 years of industry experience and has held leadership positions at Ascena Retail Group, Justice Retail, Limited Too, Structure, and ACO Hardware. LaCommare is a member of the NRF and RILA AP leadership councils as well as holds various roles with the LPRC. He holds a BS degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University.
Bill Inzeo is the global retail technology strategist for Zebra Technologies, responsible for identifying the most impactful technology solutions that align to the top challenges facing Zebra’s retail customers today and in the future. Prior to joining Zebra, he was senior director of strategic analytics, systems, and support for Walgreens Asset Protection Solutions where he was responsible for maximizing the profitability of 9,000-plus retail locations and was one of the company’s subject-matter experts for Total Retail Loss, leveraging technology and analytics to optimize Walgreens inventory performance, enabling the Walgreens’ team to deliver a differentiating customer experience.