Shoplifting and Other Fraud Cost Retailers Nearly $50 Billion Last Year

Jun 22, 2017

Loss of inventory from stores — due to causes including shoplifting and employee theft — cost the U.S. retail industry nearly $48.9 billion in 2016.

The National Retail Security Survey, conducted annually by the National Retail Federation trade group, found that the average inventory shrink rate increased to 1.44% in 2016. That figure — which measures missing inventory — includes items that go missing because of shoplifting, theft by employees, administrative errors, vendor fraud and other unknown loss.

Most missing inventory (36.5%) was attributed to shoplifting by outside customers, followed by employee theft (30%). Administrative errors accounted for 21.3% of inventory shrink, while vendor fraud accounted for 5.4%.

The survey — which included 83 retailers, some of which have multiple brands — found that the average cost per shoplifting incident doubled to $798.48. The average cost per employee theft incident was $1,922.80. The survey attributed that, in part, to a decrease in punitive action against shoplifters and employees.

MONEY may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions