Sometimes we need facts and statistics to help us understand why something needs to be treated with importance and clothing security is no different. If you are a retail owner selling any type of clothing lines you should find the following statistics from the 2017 National Retail Federation’s National Retail Security Survey interesting and disturbing:
• Inventory shrink for the apparel sector grew from 1.2% in 2016 to 1.36% in 2017 (pg.8)
• 15 of 26 apparel respondents to the survey said shrink had grown in their stores (pg.8)
• In apparel, both shoplifting (41%) and employee theft (35.5%) were higher than the overall average for retailers (pg. 8)
• In apparel only 4 of 22 respondents expect to have a higher LP budget in 2017 while 9 expect flat budgets and 2 expect lower budgets (pg. 9)
• Apparel had an average loss of $1,132 per dishonest employee (pg. 14)
• The average shoplifting incident in apparel was $974.37 (pg. 15)
• In apparel the average cost of return fraud was $968.81 (pg. 16)
Apparel retailers appear to be getting hammered from all sides when the numbers are examined. Inventory shrink is growing, shoplifting and employee theft are both increasing and it appears Loss Prevention budgets are staying flat or decreasing. The survey was taken using retail LP professionals, which means these were stores that are large enough to have an LP department of some type. Loss Prevention Systems Inc. founder and CEO Bill Bregar is concerned by theft in all retail locations but his company especially focuses on providing services to the small retail businesses. The national apparel chain stores are struggling with clothing security. How much more is the little guy which cannot afford a security staff? Bill suggests ALL retailers use clothing tags on the clothes they sell, including the little guy.
Clothing tags and Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) pedestals are part of a larger system designed to discourage shoplifting and employee theft. The tags pin to the garment and can only be removed with a special detachment tool controlled by the store. Tags have integrated coils that continuously send out radio frequency (rf) waves. Merchandise that is tagged is picked up by the pedestals acting as rf receivers. Walk out with goods protected by a tag and the pedestal alarm blasts out an alert that can be heard throughout the largest stores. Shoplifters enter a store with a pedestal and they become much more cautious knowing they may set off an alarm if they steal. The thief looks at merchandise and sees everything has a hard tag and they usually make the choice to leave the store alone. For the foolhardy criminal who chooses to test the system, they set off the alarm when they walk up with tagged products. Often the result is dropped merchandise but when it isn’t, a quick response from trained employees is enough to conduct receipt checks and merchandise is retrieved. Though I have referenced shoplifters, employees who may consider stealing face the same obstacles if they make a decision to take something without paying. EAS makes no distinction between a crooked employee and a crooked customer.
So you may be wondering if a store that has an EAS system must also have security staff to answer alarms. The answer is no. I was a Loss Prevention Manager for a company that had numerous changes to our security teams. Sometimes I had a budget that allowed me ample people to staff the front of the store and to walk the floor seeking out shoplifters. At other times, I had little or no budget for a person to staff the front end. I always had to train store employees, usually cashiers and front-end supervisors to be prepared to respond to alarms. They were not apprehending anyone they were just trained to conduct thorough receipt and package checks. They resolved alarm activations caused by clothing security tags or other retail anti-theft devices. With training, employees who are not Loss Prevention Specialists are quite capable of handling an alarm and recovering unpaid merchandise. You don’t have to have an Loss Prevention staff to have an effective EAS System.
Shoplifting and employee theft do not seem to be going away. Retail shrink, especially in the apparel sector continues to climb at a higher rate than that of other retail markets. If national chain stores continue to experience such losses then you can be sure your business will be impacted as well. Use clothing tags on your clothing goods and add EAS towers at your entry and exit doors and you will dramatically reduce theft in your store. The result will be declining shortage and that means more profit for your business.
Clothing security is important and we can help you with it. Call 1.770.426.0547 and let’s talk.