Employee theft — totaling $19.5 billion — represented nearly half of all retail losses last year, according to the latest National Retail Security Survey by the University of Florida and the National Retail Federation.
Shoplifting accounted for $13.3 billion or about one-third of losses, and the rest came from administrative error ($5.8 billion or 14 percent of shrinkage) and vendor fraud ($1.7 billion or 4 percent of shrinkage).
Shrinkage as a percentage of sales remained nearly unchanged in 2006 from 2005. Even so, total retail losses hit $41.6 billion in 2006, due to higher retail sales last year over the previous year.
University of Florida criminology professor Richard Hollinger noted that retailers do seem to be putting a dent in the amount of criminal activity in their stores, but said that retailers also acknowledge “they have a lot of work left to do.”