Preventing Retail Theft and Profit Loss this Holiday Season

Retail theft is an unfortunate side effect of holiday shopping, especially on Black Friday (Nov. 25 this year). Because hoards of people flock to stores and malls, security efforts must be vamped up. Working with loss prevention officers like those of AEGIS Security & Investigations can save your retail store money, time, and energy.

There are three primary areas of concern with retail theft, though two of them are relatively controllable with the right security in place.

First, there is in-store customer theft in which customers steal items. Nearly 40 percent of retail loss in the U.S. is the result of this type of theft. Additionally, studies have shown that 1 out of 11 Americans actively shoplift. Stores that offer products for health, beauty, apparel, and electronics have been identified as the most vulnerable. And while identifying shoplifters might seem easy, store personnel are not always the easiest or most reliable source to do so. The Hayes and Blackwood Study found that barely five percent of retail staff responded to store alarms as being “meaningful” enough to actually check the receipt or identify the person or product that triggered the alarm. Hiding merchandise in a coat pocket, under a sweater, or in a purse is not always obvious; hence, hiring a good loss prevention team is likely to decrease the number of shoplifters who get away with the act.

Second, there is employee theft, which is, surprisingly, the most common. While you may train your staff to be on the lookout for patrons who are stealing, they may be looking for ways working in your store can benefit them. Unfortunately, 35 percent of retail shrink is caused by employee theft, making it the No. 1 reason for retail loss. There are several methods of prevention for this type of theft. For example, screening employees upon consideration for hire is a helpful tool in preventing this type of shoplifting. However, relying on background checks alone still opens you up to theft. Implementing policies that open the door for employees to report internal theft without harm to themselves can be useful. Even having a small space in which employees work can act as prevention. But none of these guarantee that none of your staff will steal, and if you’re operation is larger, hiring a full-time security professional is critical to ensuring your profit margin stays in the black.

Third, there can be backend theft. Retailers often find themselves losing money when suppliers and contractors overcharge and inventory is poorly managed. These errors, especially when not caught in a timely fashion, are responsible for 27 percent of all losses in the industry. Security officers can help with this by supervising product intake and exchange at retailers’ facilities.

Why does all of this matter? Considering retail spending went up nearly 10 percent last year between Thanksgiving day and Black Friday shopping expenditures alone, there is a lot of money at stake for the retail industry as a whole during the holiday season. Hiring AEGIS loss prevention officers is the first step in minimizing your risk of losing out on a strong profit this holiday season.

AEGIS Security & Investigations is a Los Angeles region company that is licensed and insured in the State of California to provide high-end armed and unarmed regular and temporary off-duty police officers, bodyguards, security officers, loss prevention agents, and event staff. Additionally, we offer services for private investigation, consultation, people tracing, and background investigation. Our trainings and workshops in the field of security licensure and counter-terrorism have been featured in news media and are renowned for their efficacy. For more information or to contact us, visit


Author: Chelsea Turner & Jeff Zisner