The Loss Prevention Research Council (LPRC) IMPACT conference officially opened Tuesday for its first in-person event since 2019 with a record-breaking attendance of over 400 retailers, solution providers, and industry partners, hosted on the University of Florida Gainesville campus.
Scott Ziter, vice president of risk management at Northeast Shared Services and chair of the LPRC board of advisers (BOA), welcomed attendees and provided a short update on LPRC membership. Citing the 2022 goal of reaching 100 retail and 100 solution provider members, the council is currently at 69 retailers and 100 solution providers. He urged the attendees to reach out to their retail peers to encourage them to join the council, which would help expand the research conducted by the team.
Following opening comments from LPRC Director Read Hayes, PhD, Chad McIntosh moderated a panel of founding members of the LPRC. In attendance were King Rogers, then vice president of LP at Target; Bill Titus, VP of LP at OfficeMax; Ed Wolfe, VP of LP at Home Depot; and Gary Johnson, VP of LP at Barnes & Noble. Not in attendance but part of the founding retailers are Dan Doyle, SVP of HR at Beall’s; Keith White, SVP of LP at Gap Inc.; Dave Gorman, VP of LP at Walmart (deceased); and Ben Guffey, VP of LP at Kmart (deceased).
At the 2000 National Retail Federation (NRF) LP conference, Rogers challenged his fellow retailers to consider working with Target and Dr. Hayes to conduct research that aims to understand what tools and strategies actually worked to reduce loss. This small group of retailers founded the LPRC later in 2000, and it has now grown to nearly 200 members today.
Apart from discussing the origins and growth of the LPRC, panelists offered a few key things they felt benefited the members and the LP industry. Gary Johnson said, “The LPRC proved to be a great opportunity to develop our team by allowing them to work with other retailers, solution providers, and the LPRC team to examine and talk through shared challenges. It was a real eye-opener that you don’t find at a conference or anywhere else.”
Bill Titus added, “The LPRC helped move the relationship between retailers and vendors—who often were just selling products—from an adversarial relationship to become solution provider partners working together to solve problems.”
National Retail Security Survey Results
A second general session offered insights into the recently released results from the 31st annual National Retail Security Survey (NRSS), a collaboration between the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the LPRC, sponsored by Appriss Retail. Cory Lowe, senior research scientist with the LPRC, and Mark Mathews, NRF VP for research development and industry analysis, were joined by Chris Hackler, VP of global AP for Signet Jewelers, and Peter Chie, operating VP for Bloomingdale’s.
The top line survey results showed an average shrink rate of 1.44 percent that represented a $95 billion dollar retail loss in 2021. Apart from shrink, the results indicated a significant shift in retail strategy away from inventory loss to physical security to “fortify stores” to protect employees and customers. This shift was explained as the result of the increase in aggression and violence by individual and organized retail crime theft seen in recent years.
Both Matthews and Hackler, who is on the NRF LP research committee, named “increased engagement” as their top priority for the 2023 NRSS to encourage a larger number of retailers to participate in the survey, allowing broader analysis by the retail segment for more meaningful results. To read more results from the survey as well as download the entire report, click here.
Learning Lab Breakouts and Expo Hall
The first day also included a lively discussion about “using AI to protect employees and customers” moderated by Robert Daigle, global head of AI with Lenovo, with panelists Joe Davis, director of AP and safety; Adam Oberdick, AP director for CVS Health; Beth Bergmann, SVP solution strategy and brand for Telaid; and Alex Siskos, SVP strategy with Everseen.
Seven breakout sessions addressed a variety of topics, including:
- Examining the role of AI in reducing bias and improving decision making
- What we can learn from shoplifters on social media
- Using body-worn cameras to reduce aggression
- Key challenges and threats in the supply chain
- ORC team development and collaboration
- The five zones in supply chains—the role of mapping in crime analysis and risk estimation
Attendees also spent time in a busy expo hall where 45 solution providers displayed current products and technologies. The day ended with a networking reception at the Champions Club high atop the University of Florida football stadium (The Swamp).