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Retail theft reaches more than $37 billion

BY Allison Cerra

BOCA RATON, Fla. — A new survey recently conducted by the University of Florida found that retailers lost $37.1 billion in theft last year, up nearly $4 billion from 2009.

Criminologist Richard Hollinger led the National Retail Security Survey, which was sponsored by security systems integrator ADT Commercial. Hollinger found that employee theft made up the largest portion with $16.2 billion in losses, or more than 43% of the total, followed by shoplifting and organized retail crime, with a loss of $12.1 billion, or almost 33% of the total losses.

"It is possible this increase is due to the prevalence of ORC, where items are stolen in quantity and then resold to consumers on the Internet or at flea markets," Hollinger said. "The National Retail Federation just completed its own survey showing an increase in ORC activities with more than 95% of retailers saying they had been victims and almost 85% indicating that the problem had gotten worse over the last three years."

Retail theft includes shoplifting, employee theft, administrative error and vendor fraud.

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U.S. Hispanic population outpaces overall population growth, data show

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON — The nation’s Hispanic population grew four times faster than the total U.S. population between 2000 and 2010, with Mexicans representing the largest Hispanic group, according to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The recently released 2010 Census brief shows that the Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010 and accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population increase of 27.3 million. Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43% — four times the nation’s 9.7% growth rate.

About three-quarters of Hispanics in the United States are reported as Mexican, Puerto Rican or Cuban origin in the 2010 Census.

Mexican origin was the largest group, representing 63% of the total U.S. Hispanic population, up from 58% in 2000. This group increased by 54% and saw the largest numeric change (11.2 million), growing from 20.6 million in 2000 to 31.8 million in 2010. Mexicans accounted for about three-fourths of the 15.2 million increase in the total Hispanic population between 2000 and 2010.

Puerto Ricans were the second largest group, followed by the Cuban origin population, according to the data.

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CtW Investment Group wants Rite Aid to overhaul its board

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON — An investment group that holds approximately 3 million shares of Rite Aid stock is calling for an overhaul of the retail pharmacy chain’s board ahead of its annual stockholders meeting next Thursday.

In a letter to Rite Aid’s board of directors, the CtW Investment Group, which works with pension funds sponsored by unions affiliated with the nonprofit group Change to Win, said its analysis found that only 4-of-the-11 nominees named in Rite Aid’s May 13th proxy statement were sufficiently independent to represent public shareholders.

Responding to the letter, Rite Aid SVP corporate communications Karen Rugen told Drug Store News that 8-of-the-11 nominees “fully satisfy” the New York Stock Exchange’s director independence requirements.

“We have a well-qualified board with a broad and diverse range of business experience,” Rugen said.

There currently are 10 nominees for director up for election to the board, while Leonard Green & Partners announced last month that it plans to elect John Baumer to replace its member on the board, Jon Sokoloff, who has resigned. Leonard Green & Partners, an affiliate of Green Equity Investors III, has the right to elect a board member under an agreement it made with Rite Aid when it purchased stock in the company in October 1999.

In the letter, CtW Investment Group executive director William Patterson wrote, “Our company’s lackluster performance over the past decade and the daunting circumstances in which it presently finds itself are inextricably tied to a lack of needed oversight by truly independent directors, and warranted far greater treatment in the proxy statement mailed to shareholders on May 13th.”

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