Organized Retail Crime (ORC) is an ever growing threat to the economic welfare of the $4.7 trillion retail industry nationwide. Retailers lose billions of dollars to ORC every year and it affects every part of the industry: drug stores, supermarkets, mass merchants, home improvement stores, apparel, department stores, and specialty stores. However, some retailers experience a higher frequency of ORC activity due to types of goods sold, locations of stores, store layouts, and internal practices and controls. “January’s ORC total dollars reported publicly and captured by the Daily being $358 million, which means extended out, that we might hit $4.3 billion by year’s end.”
The financial impact is astronomical. Just imagine, you put out 30 items and 20 get stolen. You are losing money and that can be like cutting an artery. For some retailers it can come down to two options, either continue to put these items on the shelf and lose them at a high rate, or dump the product all together as it becomes too cost-prohibitive to even carry them. Some popular ORC target items are over-the-counter medications, health and beauty products and razors blades.
There is also a huge market for Tide laundry detergent and Red Bull energy drinks. These are stolen at a high rate because they are easy products to recognize, they tend not to be locked down or secured and they are displayed in close proximity to exits. The reality is, the thieves like the high priced/high valued products and they have the ability to sell them very quickly.
Baby formula is desirable because it’s expensive, it’s easy to sell and can be used to cut some drugs. Over the years, there’s hardly an item that the organized retail thieves won’t go after if in fact they can get a quantity.
When it comes to clothing items and accessories nothing is safe. Common targets include designer products such as jeans, handbags, scarves and shoes as there is a market for these items both inside and outside the United States.
Merchants are doing a better job protecting themselves with technology or even putting these coveted items behind locked doors. Often times the consumer is overlooked when it comes to the impact of ORC. Some of these methods of protecting the products can be intrusive to the consumer and may give them a negative feel about the shopping experience, or worse, when these thieves take a whole rack of medication, it’s not available for the consumer, causing them to go elsewhere.■
Editors Note: If you’re experiencing loss of high theft items at your location, view Setronics’ latest technology that is helping retailers everywhere (View Stop-Loss System).