Organized retail crime syndicates are increasingly resorting to violence in their quest for ill-gotten gains.
According to the ninth annual Organized Retail Crime, or ORC, Survey to be released by the National Retail Federation today, 18.3 percent of in-store apprehensions in retail theft cases led to some level of violence by the suspects, up from 15.2 percent in last year’s study and just 13 percent in 2011.
“There is a growing likelihood of confrontation as thieves become more brazen and more stubborn, staying on their task of stealing the merchandise and getting it to its intended destination,” Rich Mellor, vice president of loss prevention at NRF, told WWD. “They’re not going out and looking for violence, but they are prepared not to be caught and are often in possession of weapons.”
Frequently, he added, thieves work off an itinerary and will head to a series of nearby stores or malls in search of other shoplifting opportunities. “There’s a certain predictability to these sorts of crimes that makes communication and cooperation among retailers, mall operations and law enforcement essential in finding the offenders, bringing them to justice and reducing the risks to employees and store security personnel,” Mellor said.
He also noted that the same mobile tools that are making shopping easier for honest consumers simplify the search for various types of merchandise for those with criminal intent. “They can track which stores have what online or even on their phones,” he said.
This year’s study, involving senior loss prevention executives from 77 U.S. retail firms, found respondents somewhat less likely to have been victims of organized retail crime, with 93.5 percent indicating they’d been hit by ORC in the past year, lower than the 96 percent who answered affirmatively in 2012. But more than four in five — 81.3 percent — believe that it’s increased in frequency in the past three years, regardless of their own experience in the area.
Loss prevention officials see awareness of ORC growing among law enforcement officials, with 48.1 percent of them indicating they believe police understand the “complexity and severity” of the issue, up from 40 percent last year and an all-time high for the figure.
For the first time, the study looked into the practice of individuals returning stolen merchandise to stores without receipts with the purpose of receiving store credits in the form of gift cards which could in turn be sold to legitimate businesses, both online and off. The share of retailers hit by this tactic was 77.8 percent.
“There are already defrauding processes being put in place, but retailers continue to lose millions of dollars to this enterprise scheme,” Mellor said.
Organized retail crime, including credit and gift card fraud, costs U.S. retailers about $30 billion a year, according to FBI estimates.
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews