Annual Retail Theft Survey

27th Annual Retail Theft Survey reports on over 1.2 million shoplifters and dishonest employees apprehended by just 25 large United States retailers in 2014

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

Wesley Chapel, FL – Over 1.2 million shoplifters and dishonest employees were apprehended in 2014 by just 25 large retailers who recovered over $225 million from these thieves, according to the 27th Annual Retail Theft Survey conducted by Jack L. Hayes International, the leading loss prevention and inventory shrinkage control consulting firm.

“Something has to change, as we continue to report increases in apprehensions and recovery dollars year after year. In 2014, the number of apprehensions and recovery dollars were up again for both shoplifters and dishonest employees. Shoplifting apprehensions rose 7.4%, while dishonest employee apprehensions rose 1.7%. The dollars recovered from apprehended shoplifters and dishonest employees also rose, 7.5% and 18.1% respectively”, said Mark R. Doyle, President of Jack L. Hayes International. “These increases, follow similar increases reported the previous three years!” Mr. Doyle added, “I believe the solution starts with education. Educating the public as to the severity of the theft problem and how it negatively effects them on a daily basis. Educating our elected officials as to the negative impact theft plays on our communities and economy. Also, we need to do a better job educating our school aged children to the consequences of theft and the seriousness of the problem.”

Highlights from this highly anticipated annual theft survey include:

  • Participants: 25 large retail companies with 23,250 stores and over $700 billion in retail sales (2014).
  • Apprehensions: 1,272,560 shoplifters and dishonest employees were apprehended in 2014, up 7.1% from 2013.
  • Recovery Dollars: Over $225 million was recovered from apprehended shoplifters and dishonest employees in 2014, up 10.4% from 2013
  • Shoplifter Apprehensions: 1,192,194 shoplifters were apprehended in 2014, up 7.4% from 2013.
  • Shoplifter Recovery Dollars: Over $159 million was recovered from apprehended shoplifters in 2014, an increase of 7.5% from 2013. An additional $82.5 million was recovered from shoplifters where no apprehension was made, up a significant 15.2% from 2013.
  • Employee Apprehensions: 80,366 dishonest employees were apprehended in 2014, up 1.7% from 2013.
  • Employee Recovery Dollars: Over $66 million was recovered from employee apprehensions in 2014, up 18.1% from 2013.
  • One in every 38 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer in 2014. (Based on over 3.0 million employees.)
  • On a per case average, dishonest employees steal over 6 times the amount stolen by shoplifters ($825.36 vs $133.80).

Jack L. Hayes International, Inc. has been in the Loss Prevention/Shrinkage Control consulting business for over 30 years, and is recognized on an international level as the foremost loss prevention and inventory shrinkage control consulting firm in the world.

SURVEY PARTICIPANTS

  • 25 Large Retail Companies
  • 23,250 Stores (representing an excellent cross-section of the United States)
  • $703,208,736,674 in Annual Retail Sales (2014)
TOTAL RETAIL THEFT APPREHENSIONS Difference
2013 2014 #/$ Pct. 
Apprehensions 1,188,700 1,272,560 83,860  7.05%
Recoveries $204,587,468 $225,847,340 $21,259,872 10.39%
Avg. Case Value $172.11 $177.47 $5.36  3.12%
Retail Theft Apprehensions Breakdown
SHOPLIFTING Difference
2013 2014 #/$ Pct. 
Apprehensions 1,109,639 1,192,194 82,555  7.44%
Recoveries $148,427,192 $159,516,231 $11,089,039  7.47%
Avg. Case Value $133.76 $133.80 $0.04  0.03%
Hours Per Apprehension*
(*6 companies reporting)
37.61 34.41 -8.51%
Recoveries
(No Apprehensions Made)
$71,642,129 $82,542,976 $10,900,847 15.22%
DISHONEST EMPLOYEES Difference
2013 2014 #/$ Pct.
Apprehensions 79,061 80,366 1,305  1.65%
Recoveries $56,160,276 $66,331,109 $10,170,833 18.11%
Avg. Case Value $710.34 $825.36 $115.02 16.19%

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 27th Annual Retail Theft Survey

  • One out of every 38 employees was apprehended for theft from their employer in 2014. (Based on comparison data of over 3.0 million employees.)
  • Apprehensions: Survey participants apprehended 80,366 dishonest employees in 2014, up 1.7% from 2013.
  • Recoveries: Dollars recovered from dishonest employee apprehensions totaled over $66 million in 2014, an increase of 18.1% from 2013.
DISHONEST EMPLOYEES Difference
2013 2014 #/$ Pct.
Apprehensions 79,061 80,366 1,305  1.65%
Recoveries $56,160,276 $66,331,109 $10,170,833 18.11%
Avg. Case Value $710.34 $825.36 $115.02 16.19%

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 27th Annual Retail Theft Survey reports on over 1.1 million shoplifting apprehensions taking place in just 25 large retail companies representing 23,250 stores with combined 2014 annual sales in excess of $700 billion. Some shoplifter-related highlights from this survey are:

  • Apprehensions: Survey participants apprehended 1,192,194 shoplifters in 2014, an increase of 7.4% from the prior year.
  • Recoveries: Dollars recovered from shoplifting apprehensions totaled over $159 million in 2014, a 7.5% increase from 2013. This was the 12th increase in shoplifting recovery dollars in the past 13 years.
  • For the 18th consecutive year, dollars recovered from shoplifters where no apprehension was made (over $82 million) increased. In 2014, this increase was a significant 15.2%.
  • Case Value: The average shoplifting case value in 2014 was $133.80, showing minimal change from 2013’s average case value ($133.76).
SHOPLIFTING Difference
2013 2014 #/$ Pct.
Apprehensions 1,109,639 1,192,194 82,555  7.44%
Recoveries $148,427,192 $159,516,231 $11,089,039  7.47%
Avg. Case Value $133.76 $133.80 $0.04  0.03%
Hours Per Apprehension*
(*10 companies reporting)
37.61 34.41 -8.51%
Recoveries
(No Apprehensions Made)
$71,642,129 $82,542,976 $10,900,847 15.22%

 

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