Winning the Retail Shrinkage Market

The 2007 Global Retail Theft Barometer estimated global shrinkage at 1.36 percent of retail sales, which translates into US$98 billion. Shrinkage accounts for any loss of inventory due to shoplifting, employee theft, administrative error or vendor fraud. The Barometer broke down sources of retail shrinkage globally into shoplifting (42 percent), employee theft (35 percent), internal error (17 percent) and supplier/ vendor (6 percent). In the U.S. alone, in 2006, there were 41.6 million retail establishments, and the nation spent $650 million on electronic security devices simply a small piece of the global retail market.

"Retail crime is not just shop theft; it includes graffiti that ruins shop fronts, vandalism that costs thousands to repair, abuse and threats that demoralize staff and incite fear, and burglaries and robberies that can cripple businesses," said Paul Everett, Senior Research Analyst at IMS Research, which recently published the Vertical Insight Report "Security In Retail A Survey of Retailers in Europe and North America."

Scott Thomas, Director of Business Development, Retail Market, Genetec, enumerated the various challenges facing retailers the world over: safety and security of employees, customers and company assets protection, and ensuring flow of retail operations.

According to Jack Finefrock, Vice President, Retail Division, Diebold Security, retailers in the U.S. typically budget 0.5 percent of sales for loss prevention-related services. "Industry sources indicate that retail security spend could exceed $2.7 billion in 2008, and most of this will be spent on video surveillance and electronic article surveillance (EAS)."

Indian, China and South African Retail Markets

"In India," said Santonu Choudhury, CEO of Zicom Retail Products, "there are more than 13 million stores. Because mass retail is a fairly new concept in India, only high-end users are asking for security systems to be integrated with their operational systems (such as point-of-sale) or other security systems. Standalone stores opt for recording only with no viewing. Nine-channel and 16-channel DVRs are the top sellers, as are those with PC monitors."

Zicom has estimated that 600,000 standalone retail stores in India will eventually install electronic security. This figure does not include the approximately 300,000 chain stores which are or will become secured with current technology. With Indiaˇs retail sector expected to grow by 30 percent in 2008, India is forecast to be among the five largest consumer markets by 2010.

Then, there is China, which was listed as the third largest retail market in Deloitteˇs 2007 Global Powers of Retailing study. The Chinese retail market grew to an unprecedented $1.18 trillion in 2007, as more than 15,000 new stores opened, said Frost & Sullivan. The retail industry expects to have growth rates of more than 11 percent until 2012.

Retail losses in South Africa are estimated at roughly $920 million per annum, said Thulani Masina, Head of Operations Risk Management, Edgars chain. This figure does not include losses at pharmacies, liquor stores, and independent and specialty stores. At Edgars, internal theft accounts for 65 percent of total losses, processing errors by staff another 10 percent, and external theft 25 percent.

Major Suppliers in Retail

In North America, IMS Research had the electronic security market valued at over $550 million in 2006, with Honeywell, Pelco, GE Security, Bosch Security Systems, March Networks, Panasonic System Solutions, Tyco and Verint as the major players. The retail video surveillance market was valued at $437 million with Pelco, Bosch, March Networks and Panasonic as key companies.

In Europe, IMS valued the market at over $421 million in 2006 with notables being Honeywell, GE, Bosch, Panasonic, Dedicated Micros, Siemens, Tyco and Pelco. The retail video surveillance market was valued at over $322 million with Bosch, Panasonic, Dedicated Micros, Tyco and Pelco leading.

Popular E A S systems are Sensormatic (Tyco) and Checkpoint Systems, said Richard Hollinger, Professor at the University of Florida's Department of Criminology, Law and Society.

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