Research in the loss prevention industry is alive and well on both sides of the Atlantic. Several organizations are growing our body of knowledge related to asset protection and controlling shrink through numerous ongoing surveys and research projects.
National Retail Security Survey
Earlier this summer the National Retail Federation (NRF) published the 2018 National Retail Security Survey (NRSS), now in its twenty-seventh year. Sponsored by Appriss Retail, the NRF survey is produced through a strategic partnership with Richard Hollinger, PhD, (retired) of the University of Florida. Key findings from the latest report shows an average shrink rate of 1.33 percent for US retailers, which is a slight decrease over previous surveys. Shrink distribution was reported as:
- 35.7% shoplifting and organized retail crime
- 33.2% employee theft
- 18.8% administrative and paperwork error
- 5.8% vendor fraud or error
- 6.6% unknown loss
LP executives have long used the NRSS as a tool for comparing their companies’ shrink results against others in their retail segments. The full report can be downloaded at nrf.com/nrss.
Global Shrink Index
About the same time the Sensormatic© Global Shrink Index was published by Tyco Retail Solutions and reported in our July-August issue in an article titled “The Worldwide Impact of Shrink.” This global research was conducted across fourteen countries in four regions—US, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America—and thirteen retail segments among retailers that account for 80 percent of total retail sales worldwide.
As a comparison to the NRSS, the average US shrink rate was calculated at 1.85 percent (versus 1.82% globally). The US shrink distribution reported in this survey used only four categories of loss:
- 35.6% shoplifting
- 24.4% employee theft
- 18.4% administrative error
- 21.5% vendor fraud
The full Global Shrink Index report that includes results from all regions surveyed can be found at shrinkindex.sensormatic.com.
Loss Prevention Research Council
Tyco Retail Solutions is also a major sponsor of the Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) based at the University of Florida in Gainesville where the LPRC maintains what they call their Innovation Lab just off campus. The LPRC membership currently includes over seventy retailers, another seventy solutions providers, as well as numerous manufacturers and industry associations and media including LP Magazine and the Loss Prevention Foundation.
The LPRC conducts research in their Innovation Lab as well as in test stores in several areas of the United States. Research projects may focus on only one retailer or across several retail participants. Most of the findings are proprietary to the membership, but some are shared publicly either through their website at lpresearch.org or at their annual Impact conference each October. The most recent conference saw roughly 400 participants in the three-day event.
This magazine also publishes ongoing articles both in our print and digital channels by LPRC scientists, including its managing director Read Hayes, PhD, and researchers Mike Giblin and Stephanie Lin.
ECR Community Shrink & OSA Group
The ECR Community Shrink & On-shelf Availability Group is a retailer-manufacturer working group focusing on finding ways to better manage the problems of on-shelf product availability, shrinkage, and food waste. Well-known UK researcher Professor Adrian Beck, recently retired from the University of Leicester, is an academic advisor while Colin Peacock is a strategic coordinator to the ECR. Both are frequently published in both LP Magazine‘s US and Europe publications.
In October at the magazine’s annual meeting, which is colocated with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Asset Protection Leaders Council, Beck presented recent research on self-checkouts. Attendees reported the results were eye-opening. We expect to publish Beck’s research results in the next issues of the US and Europe magazines.
The ECR and RILA have already sponsored research with Beck that has resulted in significant findings related to total retail loss (a new, more holistic definition of shrink), so-called “hot products,” and the impact of supply-chain factors on on-shelf availability. More information can be found at ecr-shrink-group.com.