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NRF: Criminals view recession as opportunity to abuse retailers


Washington, D.C. Retailers and consumers are becoming more victimized by organized retail crime groups, according to the National Retail Federation’s fifth annual Organized Retail Crime survey.

Nine out of 10 retailers (92%) report that their companies were victims of organized retail crime during the past year, up 8% from the prior-year period, the report said.


Nearly three-fourths (73%) of retailers also reported the level of organized retail crime activity has increased over the past 12 months, an increase of 11% from 2008. 

“The unfortunate economic events of the past year have played an intricate role in how criminals continue to rip off the retail industry,” said Joe LaRocca, NRF senior asset protection advisor. “Organized retail crime rings have realized that tough economic times present new business opportunities by stealing valuable items from retailers and turning around to sell the merchandise to consumers looking for bargains.”

Even with the economy forcing retailers to cut staff and do more with less, 42% of retailers said their company is allocating additional resources to address organized retail crime. According to the survey, the average retailer spends approximately $215,000 annually just on labor costs to fight organized retail crime. Some retailers surveyed spend far more, with 6% of respondents spending more than $1 million dollars a year to employ loss-prevention executives devoted to organized retail crime.

When asked how they would rank organized retail crime as a threat to their company, nearly one-third (29%) of retailers gave organized retail crime a “four” or “five” rating, identifying the problem as severe or significant. On average, retailers gave organized retail crime a rating of 2.87 on a five-point scale.

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