UNITED STATES NEWS

Retail group pulls back on claim organized retail crime accounts for nearly half of inventory loss

Dec 7, 2023, 7:00 PM

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)...

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

 

NEW YORK (AP) — The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, has revised a report released in April that pulls back the claim that organized retail crime accounts for nearly half of overall industry shrink, which measures overall loss in inventory, including theft.

The revision of the group’s organized retail crime report on Dec. 1 follows an analysis from Retail Dive that found mistakes in the data. Retail Dive is an online news site that covers retail trends.

The trade association released the original report in partnership with K2, a financial crimes risk management firm. The report erroneously stated that of the $94.51 billion in so-called industry shrink, nearly half was to organized retail crime.

David Johnston, the national retail group’s vice president of asset protection and retail operations, told The Associated Press in an interview on Thursday that the discrepancy was based on K2 referencing U.S. Senate testimony delivered in 2021 by Ben Dugan, who at the time was the president of a nonpartisan group called the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail, or CLEAR. In testimony, Dugan said that organized retail crime accounted for $45 billion in annual losses for retailers and cited the coalition.

The K2 analyst then made an incorrect inference linking the 2022 NRF security survey’s results with the CLEAR figure. Johnston said he hasn’t been able to confirm where CLEAR derived the $45 billion amount, but he said that a 2016 security survey by the retail trade group reported $45 billion in overall shrink loss.

The revised report also deleted any estimate of organized retail crime’s overall impact in dollars and any reference to CLEAR.

“It was an inaccurate inference,” Johnston said. “We missed it.”

It’s unclear how much money retailers broadly are losing due to organized retail crime — or if the problem has substantially increased. But the issue has received more notice in the past few years as high-profile smash-and-grab retail thefts and flash mob robberies have garnered national media attention. Over the past few quarters, an increasing number of retailers including Dick’s Sporting Goods and Ulta Beauty have been calling out rising theft, citing it a factor in shrinking profits.

Target announced in late September that it was closing nine stores in four states, including one in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood, and three in the San Francisco Bay Area, saying that theft and organized retail crime have threatened the safety of its workers and customers. The stores closed in late October.

But a shoplifting report examining 24 major U.S. cities published in November by the nonpartisan Council on Criminal Justice paints a different picture. The report, which uses police data through the first half of 2023, shows shoplifting incidents were 16% higher compared with the first half of 2019. But excluding New York City, reported incidents actually fell 7% over the same time period.

Ernesto Lopez of the Council of Criminal Justice and co-author of the report, had said the study adds new context to previous efforts to measure shoplifting trends, which were based on data from single jurisdictions or retailers. Still, more data is needed.

“At this point, we just don’t have a strong grasp on the extent and changing nature of the shoplifting problem, ” he said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Thursday in response to NRF’s revision. He noted that it’s unclear how many retailers are reporting theft incidents to police, and how often they are reporting them. He also said it’s unclear how anti-theft measures taken by retailers may be affecting theft levels.

“Without all of that information, any portrait of shoplifting will be incomplete,” he said.

The National Retail Federation said Thursday that it stands behind the “widely understood fact that organized retail crime is a serious problem impacting retailers of all sizes and communities across our nation.”

But it said it recognizes the challenges that the retail industry and law enforcement have with gathering and analyzing “an accurate and agreed-upon set of data to measure the number of theft incidents in communities across the country.”

______

Follow Anne D’Innocenzio: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzio

 

United States News

Associated Press

Body parts of 2 people found in Long Island park and police are trying to identify them

BABYLON, N.Y. (AP) — Police on New York’s Long Island were trying to identify human remains found in a popular suburban park that appear to be from a man and a woman. A girl walking to school Thursday morning found a severed arm on the side of the road at Southards Pond Park, about 25 […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Train derailment leaves cars on riverbank or in water; no injuries, hazardous materials reported

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — Authorities say a train derailment in eastern Pennsylvania has left some railroad cars along a riverbank Saturday morning and at least one partially in the river itself. Dispatchers in Northampton County said the derailment was reported at 7:14 a.m. in Lower Saucon Township. Authorities said it was unclear how many cars […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

An arrest has been made and charges filed in Pennsylvania slaying of pregnant Amish woman

SPARTANSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man was arrested Saturday and charged with the slaying of a pregnant Amish woman whose body was found last week. Shawn C. Cranston, 52, of Corry, has been charged with criminal homicide, criminal homicide of an unborn child, burglary and criminal trespass, Pennsylvania State Police said. He was denied […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Alexander Smirnov, second from right, leaves the courthouse on Feb. 20, 2024, in Las Vegas. ...

Associated Press

How clean is the dirt on Hunter Biden? A key Republican source is charged with lying to the FBI

WASHINGTON (AP) — Alexander Smirnov was cast by Republicans as one of the FBI’s most trusted informants, offering a “highly credible” account of brazen public corruption by Joe Biden that formed a pillar of the House impeachment investigation of the Democratic president. Then, last month, the script changed dramatically. charged with lying to the FBI, […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Powerful storm in California and Nevada shuts interstate and dumps snow on mountains

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A powerful blizzard raged overnight into Saturday in the Sierra Nevada as the biggest storm of the season shut down a long stretch of Interstate-80 in California and gusty winds and heavy rain hit lower elevations, leaving tens of thousands of customers without power. Up to 10 feet (3 meters) of […]

10 hours ago

Musher Dutch Johnson, a kennel manager at The August Foundation for Alaska Racing Dogs, runs a dog ...

Associated Press

Alaska’s Iditarod dogs get neon visibility harnesses after 5 were fatally hit while training

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Iditarod, the annual sled dog race celebrating Alaska’s official state sport, is set to get underway Saturday with a new focus on safety after five dogs died and eight were injured in collisions with snowmobiles while training on shared, multi-use trails. For the first time, mushers who line up for […]

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Retail group pulls back on claim organized retail crime accounts for nearly half of inventory loss