By Christine Kern, contributing writer
Employee theft on the rise by almost 10 percent in 2016.
In 2016, more than 438, 032 shoplifters and dishonest employees were caught stealing merchandise by 23 major retailers, according to the Jack L. Hayes International 29th Annual Retail Theft Survey. While shoplifter apprehensions fell 0.2 percent over 2015, dishonest employee apprehensions increased nearly 10 percent year over year. Meanwhile, more than $120 million was recovered from the thieves – up about 2.5 percent from 2015.
According to the report, for every $1 recovery made by the retailers that responded to the survey, $12.82 was lost to retail theft. Hayes International consultants therefore calculated that only 7.8 percent of total retail theft losses resulted in a recovery.
“In 2016, dishonest employee apprehensions increased almost 10 percent, with the dollars recovered from these dishonest employees up nearly the same amount (9.3 percent). While shoplifting apprehensions and the dollars recovered from these shoplifters decreased ever so slightly, 0.2 percent and 0.9 percent respectively”, said Mark R. Doyle, President of Jack L. Hayes International. Mr. Doyle added, “The seriousness of retail theft is a much greater problem than most customers realize. These theft losses are stealing profits from retailers’ bottom-line, which results in consumers having to pay higher prices for goods.”
The survey found that one in every 27 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer in 2016, with 53,786 dishonest employees apprehended and over $42 million recovered from employee apprehensions.
Meanwhile, the survey also found that 56.5 percent of those polled reported an increase in shrink in 2016, while 21.7 reported a decrease in shrink and 21.7 percent said their shrink levels remained fairly constant.
“The five-year trend shows a continued increase in employee theft in both apprehensions and recovery dollars. This past year is the first decline, which was very minimal, in both shoplifting apprehensions and recovery dollars. In four of the past five years both shoplifting and employee theft apprehensions and recovery dollars have increased, and in many cases, this is with a reduced loss prevention/asset protection staff. The losses are real and the theft problem is only getting worst,” according to Doyle.