Total Retail Loss Report


Beyond Shrinkage: Introducing Total Retail Loss


This unique and timely study, commissioned by the RILA Asset Protection Leaders Council, is the latest in a series of strategic research projects designed to bring new insights, tools, and techniques to help the industry better understand and tackle the problem of retail loss.   

Carried out by Professor Adrian Beck from the University of Leicester in the UK, this study set out to provide the retail industry with a better understanding of what constitutes retail ‘loss’, moving beyond the traditional confines of ’shrinkage’ to develop the much broader concept of ’Total Retail Loss’. Based upon interviews with 100 senior retail executives in some of the largest US retailers, the research offers fresh thinking on how retailers not only might define and measure retail losses, but also the potential future role of loss prevention practitioners and how they can continue to deliver value to their businesses.   

This report puts forward a new definition of ‘Total Retail Loss’ together with a typology made up of 33 categories of loss that span the entire retail environment, from shop theft in physical retail stores to frauds in corporate headquarters. It offers a unique way of thinking about how a much broader range of losses impact upon retail businesses, differentiating between the ‘costs’ of being a retailer and the ‘losses’ that negatively impact business profitability. In addition, the report offers detailed definitions of each of the categories of loss with a view to improving the accuracy of future benchmarking exercises.   

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.   

For loss prevention specialists, it provides a unique opportunity to build upon and reinforce the critical role they can play in becoming agents of change within their retail businesses.   

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