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NRF survey: Organized crime continues to plague retailers

BY David Salazar

WASHINGTON — Results from the National Retail Federations annual Organized Retail Crime (ORC) Survey is shining light on the continued prevalence of a perennial problem for retailers.

Ninety-seven percent of the retailers surveyed admitted that they had fallen prey to ORC in the last year — a number that’s up almost 10% since last year, according to the survey. The losses reported by retailers from ORC are about $453,940 per $1 billion in annual sales this past year, with an average allocation of $434,032 being made toward preventing crime. 

Some of the crimes that retailers are facing include pawn shops and kiosks that are used as fence locations for stolen goods, thieves who return stolen goods for store credit (something 66.7% of survey respondents have dealt with in the last year) and stolen merchandise credit cards. Additionally, 37.9% of those surveyed have had to combat cargo theft in the past year, up from 35.4% in 2014’s survey.

“Brazen and often dangerous criminals are finding new ways every day to manipulate the retail supply chain; from the docks where merchandise comes in to criminal flash mobs that involve several individuals running into a store at once, the methods used by crime gangs today run the gamut,” NRF’s VP loss prevention Bob Moraca said. “These new criminal methods are making it even more crucial for retailers and law enforcement to work together to combat this crime.” 

In a discussion of the survey’s results, the NRF noted that though there are now 30 states with legislation concerning ORC (five of which were added in 2015), there is still a need for federal penalties against criminals affiliated with ORC gangs. About 15% of those surveyed have noticed increased support from federal law enforcement, an almost-6% improvement over last year.

“Organized retail crime continues to be an issue plaguing retailers, and there continues to be a need to pass strong ORC legislation that defines the issues and provides law enforcement with the necessary tools to help retailers combat the issue,” NRF VP supply chain and custom policy Jon Gold said. “These vast and often dangerous crimes are not limited to any state or jurisdiction and are why we continue to push for federal legislation.”  

The last year has also seen an increase in funds allocated to combating ORC, with 47% of respondents allocating additional resources toward loss prevention — 31.8% of these are focusing on staffing and 24.2% are focusing on additional budget resources. Senior leadership at companies are increasingly aware of the challenges faced by ORC, as 62.7% of loss prevention executives said they felt top leaders were aware of the issue’s complexity. 

The survey also ranked the 10 cities that those surveyed felt had the highest rate of criminal activity. They were: 

  1. Los Angeles
  2. Miami
  3. Chicago
  4. New York
  5. Houston
  6. Arlington/Dallas/Ft.Worth
  7. San Francisco/Oakland
  8. Baltimore
  9. Orange County, Calif.
  10. Northern New Jersey

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Obama nominates new FDA chief

BY David Salazar

WASHINGTON —President Barack Obama submitted to the Senate his list of nominees to key administration posts for confirmation. Among the list of eight potential officials was Robert Califf, who has been nominated as the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration — a post that has been vacant since commissioner Margaret Hamburg resigned in March, with Stephen Ostroff working as acting commissioner since then.

Califf is currently the FDA’s deputy commissioner for medical products and tobacco, a post he has held since March. Before joining the FDA, Califf held various positions at Duke University School of Medicine, where he was the vice chancellor, and the Duke University Medical Center, where he was director of the cardiac care unit. A cardiologist, Califf has also served on the FDA’s Cardio renal Advisory Committee from 1996 to 2000 and its Science Board working Group from 2007 to 2008.

“I am confident that these experienced and hardworking individuals will help us tackle the important challenges facing America, and I am grateful for their service,” Obama said. “I look forward to working with them.”

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Wal-Mart targets expanded grocery pickup

BY Dan Berthiaume

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — On the same day Target launched a pilot of the Instacart online grocery delivery service, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced it will expand its existing grocery pickup service.

Wal-Mart will provide grocery pickup services in the parking lots of five Neighborhood Market stores in northwest Arkansas by the week of Sept. 21. Currently, Wal-Mart lets customers pick up groceries from the parking lots of a number of stores in the Phoenix, Denver, and Hunstville, Alabama markets, as well as from a location in Bentonville, Arkansas, the city where the company is headquartered.

Customers can order groceries online, schedule a pickup time, and have the items brought out to their car in the parking lot. Minimum order value is $30.

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