Survey: Shoplifters, Dishonest Workers Continue to Plague Retailers

FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. - More than $4.7 billion was lost to shoplifting and employee theft in just 25 U.S. retail companies in 2002, with only 2.43 percent of those losses resulting in a recovery, according to the 15th annual Retail Theft Survey released on Monday by Jack L. Hayes International.

"The losses are staggering and continue to amaze us," said Mark R. Doyle, v.p. of the loss prevention and inventory shrinkage control consulting firm. "Both the number of shoplifters apprehended and the dollars recovered from those apprehensions increased for the second year in a row. In addition, for the sixth consecutive year the dollars recovered from shoplifters where no apprehension was made increased significantly over the prior year."

Doyle noted that shoplifting and employee theft are serious crimes that continue to negatively impact the bottom-line profits of many retailers. "These crimes continue to hurt our economy, costing consumers higher prices at the cash register, and causing a loss of jobs when retailers are forced to close stores or even go out of business," he said.

The annual survey reports on over half a million apprehensions taking place in 25 large retail companies, representing 10,243 stores with combined 2002 annual sales in excess of $396 billion. Some of the major results from this survey find:

-- Total shoplifter and dishonest employee apprehensions in 2002 increased 7.11 percent, while total dollar recoveries exceeded $114.8 million, an increase of 7.5 percent over prior year.

-- Survey participants apprehended 505,010 shoplifters in 2002, an 8.55 percent increase over their 2001 shoplifter apprehensions (465,253).

-- Dollars recovered from shoplifting apprehensions totaled $58,198,969 in 2002, an increase of 12.22 percent over 2001 recoveries ($51,859,300).

-- Dishonest employee apprehensions decreased 4.15 percent in 2002 (57,012 vs. 59,478), and the dollars recovered from those apprehended employees decreased 6.66 percent ($37,623,661 vs. $40,307,964).

-- On a per-company basis, one in every 30 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer. (Based on over 1.8 million employees.)
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