Retail’s $30 billion problem: organized crime

September 15, 2015, 4:01 AM UTC
shoplifting worker theft
Retail worker stealing money from a cash register
Photograph by Chris Fertnig—Getty Images

Fake store fronts, cargo theft and criminal flash mobs. These are just some of the problems facing retailers that amount to a $30 billion a year problem for the industry.

The National Retail Federation on Tuesday released its annual survey on organized retail crime and found that executives see a growing problem. About 97% of the 67 senior retail loss prevention executives said their company had been hit by organized crime, up from 88.2% last year.

On average, for every $1 billion in sales, a retailer lost $453,940 in the last year, in addition to having to spend another $434,032 on personnel dedicated specifically to fighting this scourge. Organized retail crime gangs frequently create fake stores front, and other shops to pull off their fraud. And retailers must also face “flash mobs” where a group of thieves will storm a store suddenly and steal what they can.

“Brazen and often dangerous criminals are finding new ways every day to manipulate the retail supply chain,” said NRF Vice President of Loss Prevention Bob Moraca. “The methods used by crime gangs today run the gamut.”

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