Retail loss as a percentage of sales by market segment

No, it’s not that part of the anatomy George Costanza was referring to in a memorable "Seinfeld" episode. Shrinkage, in retail parlance, is inventory loss caused by employee theft, shoplifting, administrative errors and vendor fraud. Loss prevention experts put the total shrinkage dollar amount for 2001, the last year for which data is available, at $31.3 billion or 1.7 percent of the total $1.845 trillion in annual retail sales. Ultimately, it comes off the bottom line and charges are passed on to consumers.

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