Revamped Report Offers New Perspectives on Supermarket Security and Loss Prevention

WASHINGTON, DC — November 9, 2005 — A new study from the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), Supermarket Security and Loss Prevention 2005, examines the major loss prevention and security challenges facing the food retail and wholesale industry and how companies are combating them.

In its fifteenth year, the report is completely revamped with a new look and new content. In addition to key benchmarks, the report covers additional industry study material, cost-analysis information, an eight step program to reduce shrink at store level and an essay from International Lighthouse Group President William Alford, FMI’s loss prevention expert, on protecting the personal data of customers and employees.

“Retailers lose billions of dollars each year from shoplifting, employee theft and organized retail theft,” said Anne-Marie Roerink, FMI director of research. “Even the slightest improvement in these areas will add significantly to the bottom line of every food retailer. This report offers benchmarks and areas of consideration that may help retailers evaluate and improve their loss prevention programs.”

Categories of Shrink

  • Employee Theft

    Employee theft accounts for 43.3 percent of total losses. Cash was the number one type of employee theft, finishing ahead of last year’s leader — merchandise theft, which came in a close second. Cash is most frequently stolen by employees directly from the cash register.

  • Shoplifting

    Shoplifting and ORT account for 29.7 percent of all losses. The number of reported shoplifting incidents decreased last year. The most frequently shoplifted items were meat, health and beauty items, over-the-counter medication and baby formula.

  • Organized Retail Theft

    ORT is a growing problem in which theft gangs shoplift merchandise and resell the items throughout communities. It is a major concern not only because of lost revenue, but also because of safety concerns related to tampering, and repackaging and distributing potentially unsafe food. As much as 35 percent of shoplifters are linked to professional shoplifting gangs or ORT rings. Almost one-quarter (23 percent) of companies consider ORT a severe threat.

Preventative Measures

  • Security Personnel

    Among survey respondents, 90 percent reported employing at least one security or loss prevention person per company.

  • Training

    Many companies offer formal loss prevention training for employees in headquarters offices and stores. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) offer formal training for store managers.

  • Other Measures and Recommendations

    A vast majority of companies (95 percent) have a relationship with law enforcement agencies and emergency responders. As part of the survey, respondents offered their key cost-saving security recommendations. The top two were employee training and education and digital closed-circuit television.

The report was made possible by the generous support of Checkpoint Systems, Inc. To purchase Supermarket Security and Loss Prevention 2005 (retailer/wholesaler members $50, associate members $100, nonmembers $150), visit the FMI Store at