Groundbreaking RILA Report: Time for Retailers to Move Beyon

The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) today released a report, “Beyond Shrinkage: Introducing Total Retail Loss,” which analyzes the challenges with current retail loss practices and introduces the industry to the broader concept of “Total Retail Loss”. The research was commissioned by RILA’s Asset Protection Leaders Council (APLC) and carried out by Professor Adrian Beck from the University of Leicester in the UK.  It included interviews with 100 senior retail executives whose companies combined annual sales exceed $859 billion and represent 27% of total US retail sales. 

Currently, there is no consensus on how to define and measure losses in retail. Despite the term ‘shrinkage’ being widely-used and long-standing, the study found that its definition and use varies considerably across the industry. Therefore, the report develops a definition of Total Retail Loss that is manageably measurable, meaningful, and applicable to a broad range of retail environments.  

An outcome from the research is a first-ever typology for Total Retail Loss that categorizes retail costs and retail losses; establishes an organizational framework for measuring loss and its impact on the business, whether it be in-store, along the supply chain, or in the corporate office; and assigns a measurable value to different categories of loss. It is anticipated that the retail asset protection community will move to adopt this new typology across the industry. 

“This research bares in mind the rapidly changing retail landscape and offers fresh thinking on how retailers not only might define and measure retail losses, but also the potential future role of asset protection practitioners and how they can continue to deliver value to their business,” said Lisa LaBruno, RILA’s senior vice president of retail operations. “We thank Professor Adrian Beck and all retail participants for their leadership and engagement in this research to help establish leading practices for the industry moving forward.”  

Key Report Excerpts: 

“The rapidly changing nature and scale of the risks retailers are now facing further undermines the applicability of the current ways in which losses are being defined and measured.” 

“It is believed that by using Total Retail Loss, retail businesses in general, and loss prevention practitioners in particular, will be able to not only better understand the impact of current and future retail risks, but also make more informed choices about the utilization of increasingly scarce resources.” 

“The report offers compelling reasons for retailers to consider adopting the total retail loss typology and is intended to serve as a resource for asset protection executives across the industry,” said Tim Gorman, divisional vice president asset protection solutions at Walgreen Co. and chair of RILA’s APLC.  “RILA has once again demonstrated its leadership in advancing the retail asset protection industry through thought provoking research.” 

The report was officially released to members at RILA’s annual Asset Protection Leaders Council meeting yesterday, and can be found here. In addition, a Q&A with Professor Adrian Beck can be read here


RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad. 

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