NRF survey: Return fraud to cost retailers $3.5 billion this holiday season
WASHINGTON — According to the National Retail Federation’s annual Return Fraud Survey, completed by loss-prevention executives at 103 retailers, the retail industry will lose an estimated $3.5 billion to return fraud this holiday season, down from $3.7 billion last year. Annual return fraud will cost retailers an estimated $14.4 billion in 2011, up slightly from about $13.7 billion in 2010.
“Those who think they will be able to get away with manipulating a company’s return policy will be sorely disappointed this holiday season,” said Joe LaRocca, senior asset protection advisor for NRF. “Retailers have been putting checks and balances in place to prevent people from taking advantage of stores’ return policies, which raises prices for honest shoppers.”
According to the survey, 89.1% retailers said they have experienced the return of stolen merchandise in the last year, and just as many (89.1%) reported that employee return fraud or collusion with external sources has been a problem in the past year. Wardrobing — the return of used, non-defective merchandise, such as special occasion apparel and certain electronics — also poses a huge issue, as 61.4% of retailers said they been victims of this activity within the last year.
Additionally, 81.2% said they have experienced the return of merchandise purchased on fraudulent or stolen tender, and 38.6% have found criminals using counterfeit receipts to return merchandise.
When asked if their company has ever changed its return policy to specifically address return fraud, nearly two-thirds (64%) said it had.
The growing problem of return fraud has forced many retailers to adopt policies which require customers returning merchandise to show identification. Retailers have made significant progress in reducing fraudulent returns when a receipt is present, as the survey found 2.9% of returns with a receipt are fraudulent, down from 3.9% in 2010. Of those without a receipt, retailers estimate 14% of those returns are fraudulent. As a result, 62.1% now require customers returning items without a receipt to show identification. Slightly more than 10% of retailers require customers making returns with a receipt to show ID.
Most respondents (82.5%) said their return policies will remain unchanged this holiday season, on par with last year, but slightly more (12.6% versus 10.9% in 2010) will tighten their policies to combat the typical excess return fraud they see each year during the holiday season.
Duane Reade gets festive with the Duane Reader Holiday Edition 2011 launch
NEW YORK — Duane Reade is gearing up for the holiday season with the upcoming release of its in-store publication: The Duane Reader Holiday Edition 2011.
"The Duane Reader is an emblem, representing our focused dedication to New York living made easy, that’s brought to life with colorful creative inspired by our fellow New Yorkers," stated Joe Magnacca, president of Duane Reade and president of daily living products and solutions for Walgreens. "We continue to elevate this publication, which has coincided with our aggressive rebranding initiatives, and we continue to enjoy stretching the far-reaching boundaries of our Duane Reader."
"We introduce real-life, city-driven topics directly relating to these wonderful new products in a whimsical way that’s classic New York," Magnacca continued. "We are also in the process of taking our customers through a digital, sensory journey of the Duane Reader exclusively on our Facebook page throughout the entire holiday promotional period."
The Duane Reader Holiday Edition 2011 will highlight New York-centric themes, with a backdrop of hard-edge copy boasting humorous tidbits, useful advice, tips and exclusive price deals available for a limited time only in all 250-plus Duane Reade stores in the New York metropolitan area.
Many of the featured products will be introduced under the private label Good & Delish line. Items set to debut in the Duane Reader Holiday Edition 2011 include:
- Good & Delish fruit first pieces and fruit bars: Full fruit servings of acai, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in on-the-go packs; and
- Good & Delish butterscotch & chocolate haystacks: Butterscotch- or chocolate-covered oats and crispy corn flakes that create an untraditional cookie.
The Duane Reader Holiday Edition 2011 launch will commence a store-wide, limited-time-only "Win What You Buy!" Sweepstakes. With the purchase of any Good & Delish product from Nov. 12 through New Year’s Eve, every customer will have a chance to instantly win their entire basket of items.
"This sweepstakes promotion will serve to reward our most loyal Good & Delish brand advocates and introduce new customers in a delightful way to the unsurpassed quality of the Delish brand we’re so proud of," said Paul Tiberio, SVP merchandising and CMO for Duane Reade. "We are also excited to offer over 20 Nice! SKUs, with more to come in the next few months."
"The Nice! brand offers savvy New Yorkers great-tasting products that are at least as good as the leading brands while being value-priced lower than those same brands," Tiberio continued. "One of my favorite items are the Nice! fudge dunked graham cookies. Our ‘Win What You Buy’ promotion will generate hundreds of winners every week chain-wide, and all customers have to do for a chance to win is purchase any one of our exciting mix of Good & Delish products. In addition, every Duane Reade private-label brand item purchased earns double points in Flex Rewards, our signature loyalty program."
CVS Caremark sponsors employment program for veterans, military spouses
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark has announced that it will be joining first lady Michelle Obama and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the fourth annual "Business Steps Up: Hiring our Heroes" event to be held Thursday in Washington, D.C.
CVS Caremark, a chairman’s circle sponsor of Hiring our Heroes, is participating in job fairs across the country as part of the program’s goal to connect 100,000 veterans and military spouses with employment opportunities. Hiring our Heroes is a yearlong nationwide campaign to help veterans and their spouses find meaningful employment.
"As a nationwide employer focused on transforming the delivery of healthcare services, CVS Caremark is committed to providing job opportunities and attractive career paths for members of the military. We value their experience and training as leaders, innovators and team builders and see many opportunities for veterans to make a seamless transition from the military to a career at CVS Caremark," stated David Casey, VP workforce strategies and chief diversity officer at CVS Caremark.
A veteran of the United States Marine Corps himself, having served in Operation Desert Storm, Casey added, "I understand how important it is to have a meaningful career opportunity and to have your transferrable skills recognized by a prospective employer when you return to the civilian workforce after military service."
Military spouses and veterans currently work in a wide variety of positions across the CVS Caremark enterprise, including at CVS/pharmacy retail stores, distribution centers, mail-order pharmacies and MinuteClinic locations inside select CVS/pharmacy stores across the country. The company also has established a resource and networking group for employees who are military veterans, those currently serving and their supporters.
For its effort to date, CVS Caremark has been named as a finalist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Women Veteran and Military Spouse Employment and Mentoring Award.