Survey shows Canadian retailers are taking necessary actions to combat theft: Retail Council of Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers



    TORONTO, June 3 /CNW/ - With the growth of retail organized crime in the
Canadian marketplace, the types of security measures being employed by
retailers are also growing according to a new survey of medium and large
retailers from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Retail Council of Canada.
    The survey found that there are many types of criminal activity in retail
stores and that the respondents still expect that the most likely source of
financial losses in future will come from traditional merchandise theft, both
internal and external. The top two identified were merchandise theft from
customers (62%) and merchandise theft from employees (33%).
    "With a focus on the so-called traditional sources of theft will
retailers be prepared to meet the upcoming challenges faced by emerging
technology threats? Only 5% indicate that they expect pin-pad tampering to be
an issue in the future," says Ian Booler, in the performance and risk practice
with PwC in Canada.
    Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO of the Retail Council of Canada
comments, "It is clear from the survey results that there is a need for
government, law enforcement, the courts and the industry itself to ensure we
are working cooperatively to deal with such issues as retail organized crime
and all other forms of loss that retailers are subjected to."
    Currently, respondents to the survey indicate that they are using a wide
variety of store security and loss prevention measures to control store
operations. On a positive note there is an increasing trend of using
technology to help prevent theft - a full 100% of survey respondents use alarm
systems and 90% use video surveillance programs.
    "These options have become a cost effective measure to monitor store
activity - not only for criminal activity, but also for monitoring internal
theft and employee security," says Booler. "The presence of video surveillance
and alarm system measures are complementing procedural elements: greeters and
fitting room attendants working to prevent theft are being assisted by the
'eye in the sky'".
    The survey also shows that there is a correlation between the growing use
of video surveillance to the increasing rate at which offenders are being
prosecuted. Retailers now have the ability to provide law enforcement agencies
with the evidence required to appropriately prosecute offenders. Those caught
stealing can expect that Canadian retailers will take action. Eighty-five
percent of respondents dismiss employee offenders with cause, 62% proceed with
criminal charges against the employee and 80% pursue criminal charges against
their customers.
    "It is clear from the survey results that retailers are backing-up their
policies with the appropriate actions to show the public and their staff that
such activity will not be tolerated," Brisebois says.
    Survey respondents indicate that retailers can reduce their risk of
losses by using simple internal control measures:
    
    -   91% perform pre-employment screening before hiring new staff
    -   71% rotate employee's duties, where possible, in their stores
    -   86% avoid having employees work alone in their stores
    -   100% provide training and training materials to employees on store
        policies specifically related to theft prevention
    

    "It was interesting to see that 48% of respondents said they require new
employees to undergo a police background check as part of the hiring process,"
says Brisebois, "This is a clear indication of the industry's concerns over
risks of internal theft residing within today's retail environment."
    Although 100% of respondents indicated they provided training and
materials to store staff on theft prevention, 86% said they would be
interested in receiving additional training information and materials related
to loss prevention.
    "Retailers are fortifying their control environment," says Booler.
"However, typical control measures such as counting inventory are not being
performed as frequently as would be expected for a retail market that is most
susceptible to merchandise theft. Criminal diversity describes the incredible
challenge facing the mid to large retail segment in Canada. Street gangs,
technology based crime, and traditional theft must be prioritized to ensure
that losses are minimized and shrink rates remain within the industry norms."

    Methodology

    The survey information was collected and analyzed between October 2007
and March 2008, based on internet polling, phone surveys and face to face
discussions. Information was provided on a voluntary basis. Respondents to the
survey included vice-presidents, chief financial officers, directors and
managers within the Loss Prevention and Security functions of Canada's leading
retail organizations. Owners or other management staff of smaller retail
operators also participated in a separate survey targeted at the smaller
market retail segment. Information was compiled and analyzed by the Retail
Council of Canada in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP for medium-to
large retailers.
    For more information please visit www.pwc.com.ca/retail or
www.retailcouncil.org.

    About PricewaterhouseCoopers

    PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance,
tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its
clients and their stakeholders. More than 146,000 people in 150 countries
across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop
fresh perspectives and practical advice. In Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
(www.pwc.com/ca) and its related entities have more than 5,200 partners and
staff in offices across the country.
    "PricewaterhouseCoopers" refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario
limited liability partnership, or, as the context requires, the
PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member firms of the network,
each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.

    About Retail Council of Canada

    Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has been the Voice of Retail in Canada
since 1963. We speak for an industry that touches the daily lives of Canadians
in every corner of the country - by providing jobs, career opportunities, and
by investing in the communities we serve.
    RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association representing more
than 40,000 store fronts of all retail formats across Canada, including
department, specialty, discount, and independent stores, and online merchants.

    RCC is a strong advocate for retailing in Canada and works with all
levels of government and other stakeholders to support employment growth and
career opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in
communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry
competitiveness. RCC also provides its members with a full range of services
and programs including education and training, benchmarking and best
practices, networking, advocacy, and industry information.





For further information:

For further information: Carolyn Forest, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP,
(416) 814-5730, carolyn.forest@ca.pwc.com; Derek Nighbor, Retail Council of
Canada, (416) 922-6678, dnighbor@retailcouncil.org

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