Why retail crime rings target cheap goods at Walmart and CVS and skip luxury stores

Locked up boxes

Retailers are locking up a variety of items in boxes, such as skin cream.Ben Tobin

  • Only 11% of organized retail crime groups target luxury goods, per a recent NRF report.

  • Items most targeted for organized retail crime include apparel and health and beauty products.

  • Retailers have been sounding the alarm for months about increased levels of theft in their stores.

If you think organized retail crime is always a high-stakes jewelry heist, you’re wrong, according to a new report from the National Retail Federation and global risk advisory firm K2 integrity.

In fact, luxury goods such as jewelry and watches are rarely targeted by criminals.

According to a database of 132 organized retail crime groups compiled by K2 — using public information contained in hundreds of court cases and media reports between 2014 and 2022 — luxury goods are only targeted at 11% of the time. This is due to luxury items being sold in stores with enhanced security measures, the report said.

Organized retail crime instead often targets more of the everyday goods available at stores like Walmart, CVS, and Target with less security protecting it. Items most targeted for theft include apparel, health and beauty products, infant products, accessories, housewares, home improvement products, eyewear and office supplies, according to the report.

“Most shoplifting is going to be the lower-value items,” Jake Stauch, the product director for the security company Verkada, previously told Insider. “It’s not going to be a $10,000 Jewelry heist. “It’s going to be these things that just kind of go missing off the shelves and so that’s harder to detect.”

Items locked away at Walmart

Walmart locks many beauty items behind glass doors.Ben Tobin

The new NRF and K2 report comes after months of retailers sounding the alarm about above-average theft rates. Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon said in December that stores would close and prices would rise if theft levels did not drop.

The issue has even caught the attention of politicians. Last month, New York City Major Eric Adams told retailers that to prevent theft, they must require shoppers to enter stores without face masks on, as he said the masks make it more difficult to identify shoplifters.

“Organized retail crime has been a major concern for the retail industry for decades, endangering store employees and customers, disrupting store operations and causing billions in financial loss for retailers and the communities they serve,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in the report. . “These concerns have grown in recent years, as criminal groups have become more brazen and violent in their tactics and are using new channels to resell stolen goods.”

The theft issue has ballooned into a $94.5 billion problem for the retail industry, according to a prior 2022 study conducted by the NRF.

Still, other retailers are walking back their past messaging around theft. Walgreens CFO James Kehoe said in January the company “cried too much” about theft the year prior, saying it hadn’t seen as much shrinkage in recent months.

Kehoe said during the company’s most recent quarterly earnings call that Walgreens saw “lower levels of shrink” in inventory in the second half of 2022. At the start of 2022, the company said that its inventory shrink rate, or the loss of inventory attributed to theft, fraud, and damage, was over 3%. Kehoe said the shrink rate is down to roughly 2.5% this year.

What are your thoughts on organized retail crime? Contact reporter Ben Tobin on email at [email protected] or on encrypted messaging app Signal at +1 703-498-9171.

Read the original article on Business Insider