Annual Retail Theft Survey

29th ANNUAL RETAIL THEFT SURVEY

THEFT TAKES A TOLL ON RETAILERS’ BOTTOM-LINE PROFITS!

 Losses continue as Shoplifters and Dishonest Employees steal profits from U.S. retailers. Highlights from this year’s survey include:

Click here to view a downloadable/printable PDF version of the survey, including some of our thoughts behind the numbers.

Wesley Chapel, FL – Over 438,000 shoplifters and dishonest employees were apprehended in 2016 by just 23 large retailers who recovered over $120 million from these thieves, according to the 29th Annual Retail Theft Survey conducted by Jack L. Hayes International, the leading loss prevention and inventory shrinkage control consulting firm.

“In 2016, dishonest employee apprehensions increased almost 10%, with the dollars recovered from these dishonest employees up nearly the same amount (9.3%). While shoplifting apprehensions and the dollars recovered from these shoplifters decreased ever so slightly, 0.2% and 0.9% 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.”

Highlights from this highly anticipated annual theft survey include:

  • Participants: 23 large retail companies with 16,038 stores and over $370 billion in retail sales (2016).
  • Apprehensions: 438,082 shoplifters and dishonest employees were apprehended in 2016, up 1.0% from 2015.
  • Recovery Dollars: Over $120 million was recovered from apprehended shoplifters and dishonest employees in 2016, up 2.5% from 2015.
  • Shoplifter Apprehensions: 384,296 shoplifters were apprehended in 2016, down 0.2% from 2015.
  • Shoplifter Recovery Dollars: Over $78 million was recovered from apprehended shoplifters in 2016, a decrease of 0.9% from 2015. An additional $163 million was recovered from shoplifters where no apprehension was made, up a significant 14.6% from 2015.
  • Employee Apprehensions: 53,786 dishonest employees were apprehended in 2016, up 9.9% from 2015.
  • Employee Recovery Dollars: Over $42 million was recovered from employee apprehensions in 2016, up 9.3% from 2015.
  • One in every 27 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer in 2016. (Based on over 1.4 million employees.)
  • Shrink: 56.5% of survey participants reported an increase in shrink in 2016, with 21.7% reporting a decrease in shrink, and another 21.7% reported shrink stayed about the same.

Jack L. Hayes International, Inc. has been in the Loss Prevention/Shrinkage Control consulting business for over 35 years, and is recognized on an international level as the foremost loss prevention and inventory shrinkage control consulting firm in the world.

SURVEY PARTICIPANTS

  • 23 Large Retail Companies
  • 16,038 Stores (representing an excellent cross-section of the United States)
  • $377,420,446,000 in Annual Retail Sales (2016)
TOTAL RETAIL THEFT APPREHENSIONS Difference
2015 2016 #/$ Pct. 
Apprehensions 434,003 438,082 4,079  0.94%
Recoveries $117,529,916 $120,432,810 $2,902,894  2.47%
Avg. Case Value $270.80 $274.91 $4.11  1.52%
Retail Theft Apprehensions Breakdown
SHOPLIFTING Difference
2015 2016 #/$ Pct. 
Apprehensions 385,056 384,296 -760 -0.20%
Recoveries $78,772,653 $78,080,581 -$692,072 -0.88%
Avg. Case Value $204.57 $203.18 -$1.39 -0.68%
Hours Per Apprehension*
(*10 companies reporting)
35.69 29.73 -16.70%
Recoveries
(No Apprehensions Made)
$142,611,822 $163,384,090 $20,772,268 14.57%
DISHONEST EMPLOYEES Difference
2015 2016 #/$ Pct.
Apprehensions 48,947 53,786 4,839  9.89%
Recoveries $38,757,263 $42,352,229 $3,594,966  9.28%
Avg. Case Value $791.82 $787.42 -$4.40 -0.56%

EMPLOYEE THEFT
Employee theft is perceived by many to be the most severe problem facing industry today! Many people often think of theft and abuse in companies as being isolated acts, which in themselves cost an organization little. Unfortunately, this is untrue! It is also not true that most employees are caught stealing inexpensive items such as ‘pens, pencils, and paper-clips’ from their employers. Over the years, Hayes International has witnessed a steady and significant rise in this serious problem. Each year thousands of employees are caught stealing from their employers and co-workers. Furthermore, our studies reflect that this group of thieves are being caught stealing far more than a few insignificant supplies. Below are a few highlights of our most recent survey:

Highlights From Jack L. Hayes International’s 29th Annual Retail Theft Survey

  • One out of every 27 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer in 2016. (Based on comparison data of over 1.4 million employees.)
  • Apprehensions: Survey participants apprehended 53,786 dishonest employees in 2016, up 9.9% from 2015. This was the 9th increase in employee theft apprehensions in the past 10 years!
  • Recoveries: Dollars recovered from dishonest employee apprehensions totaled over $42 million in 2014, up 9.3% from 2015.
DISHONEST EMPLOYEES Difference
2015 2016 #/$ Pct.
Apprehensions 48,947 53,786 4,839  9.89%
Recoveries $38,757,263 $42,352,229 $3,594,966  9.28%
Avg. Case Value $791.82 $787.42 -$4.40 -0.56%

JOB APPLICANT ADMISSIONS
To further evaluate the severity of employee theft, Hayes International analyzed over 19,000 randomly selected Applicant Review questionnaires (pre-employment ‘honesty tests’) given by CertiFinder to retail job applicants nationwide.

Of these 19,165 job applicants, 12,283 (64.1%) were rated as “low risk” and 3,700 (19.3%) were rated as “high risk”, due to their admissions of previous wrongdoings, and their attitudes regarding honest and dishonest behavior. (Note: The remaining 3,182 applicants (16.6%) were rated as “moderate risk”.) When comparing the admissions of “high risk” and “low risk” job applicants, it becomes most obvious why some applicants are considered a hiring risk and others are not. For example, listed below are various items on the Applicant Review questionnaire and the percent of high and low risk applicants admitting to each.


High Risk

Low Risk
→  I have frequently associated with fellow employees who admitted they were stealing merchandise from the company. 18.4% 5.4%
→  I am not an honest person and might steal or cheat. 9.3% 1.7%
→  I could be tempted to steal from my employer. 26.7% 7.8%
→  I might help friends steal from my company. 14.6% 1.3%
→  I have stolen money within the past 3 years. 17.5% 5.2%
→  I have stolen merchandise within the past 3 years. 15.9% 4.5%
→  I would possibly use marijuana/illegal drugs in the future. 23.1% 6.5%
→  I have previously sold marijuana or other illegal drugs. 4.3% 0.9%

Previous theft admissions for the group of 3,700 “high risk” job applicants totaled $256,050, or $69.20 per applicant, while the admissions for the group of 12,283 “low risk” job applicants totaled $71,930, or $5.86 per applicant. It is generally estimated the correct dollar amount for stolen money and merchandise is approximately 10 times the admitted amount. Therefore, based upon admissions made on The Applicant Review questionnaire, the average “high risk” job applicant was responsible for the theft of $692.03, compared to $58.56 for the average “low risk” job applicant.

SHOPLIFTING

  • Total retail losses are approximately $44.2 billion annually (based on University of Florida survey)
  • Shoplifting is conservatively estimated to account for 30% – 40% of total retail shrink/losses.  (Both University of Florida and Hayes International surveys)
  • Average shoplifting case for all types of retail is approximately $50.00  (Based upon data taken from various surveys)

Therefore, Hayes International estimates the following number of theft incidents and dollars lost to shoplifters:

Time Frame Dollars Incidents
Annually $13 – $18 Billion
($13.26 – $17.68 Billion)
260 – 350 Million
(265 – 353 million)
Daily (365 days) $36 – $48 Million
($36,328,000 – $48,438,000)
700,000 – 950,000
(726,575 – 968,767)
Per Hour (24) $1.5 – $2.0 Million
($1,513,698 – $2,018,264)
30,000 – 40,000
(30,274 – 40,365)
Per Minute (60) $25,000 – $33,000
($25,228 – $33,637)
500 – 650
(504 – 672)

SHOPLIFTING APPREHENSIONS SURVEY
Hayes International’s 29th Annual Retail Theft Survey reports on over 380,000 shoplifting apprehensions taking place in just 23 large retail companies representing 16,038 stores with combined 2016 annual sales in excess of $370 billion. Some shoplifter-related highlights from this survey are:

  • Apprehensions: Survey participants apprehended 384,296 shoplifters in 2016, a slight decrease of 0.2% from the prior year.
  • Recoveries: Dollars recovered from shoplifting apprehensions totaled over $78 million in 2016, a 0.9% decrease from 2015.
  • Dollars recovered from shoplifters where no apprehension was made (over $163 million) increased an amazing 14.6% in 2016. This was the 20th consecutive year of increases.
  • Case Value: The average shoplifting case value in 2016 was $203.18, reflecting a slight decrease (0.7%) from 2015 ($204.57).
SHOPLIFTING Difference
2015 2016 #/$ Pct.
Apprehensions 385,056 384,296 -760 -0.20%
Recoveries $78,772,653 $78,080,581 -$692,072 -0.88%
Avg. Case Value $204.57 $203.18 -$1.39 -0.68%
Hours Per Apprehension*
(*10 companies reporting)
35.69 29.73 -16.70%
Recoveries
(No Apprehensions Made)
$142,611,822 $163,384,090 $20,772,268  14.57%

 

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