Retail Crime Leads to Over 112 Billion USD Losses in U.S. Last Year

Woodland Hills, CA-OCTOBER 19, 2022: Razor blades are locked up inside a glass showcase at a CVS store in Woodland Hills. Retail chains are adding more security measures to combat retail theft. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Losses for the U.S. retail industry from crime, violence and theft reached 112.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2022, according to a recent report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF), which has designated Oct. 26 as “Fight Retail Crime Day.”

NRF’s National Retail Security Survey, now in its 32nd year, said retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing 3.9 trillion dollars to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 52 million working Americans.

The report noted that the average shrink rate, the measurement of losses calculated by a retailer over a specific period of time, in the 2022 fiscal year increased to 1.6 percent, up from 1.4 percent in 2021.

While retail shrink encompasses many types of loss, it is primarily driven by theft, including organized retail crime. Theft, both internal and external, accounts for nearly two-thirds of retailers’ shrink. However, for some sectors, theft can represent more than 70 percent of overall shrink, said the report.

According to the report, Los Angeles topped the list of cities and metropolitan areas most impacted by organized retail crime last year, followed by San Francisco/Oakland and Houston.

“Retailers are seeing unprecedented levels of theft coupled with rampant crime in their stores, and the situation is only becoming more dire,” said David Johnston, vice president of asset protection and retail operations for NRF, in the report, adding that “Far beyond the financial impact of these crimes, the violence and concerns over safety continue to be the priority for all retailers, regardless of size or category.”

NRF said it is the world’s largest retail trade association. According to the organization, its 2023 National Retail Security Survey results contain insights from 177 retail brands, which accounted for 1.6 trillion dollars of annual retail sales in 2022 and represent more than 97,000 retail locations across the United States.