Tips for Reducing Employee Theft at Your Retail Location

deterring retail employee theft Multi-unit retail managers and store owners have to deal with the issue of employee theft on a regular basis.  In fact, a study conducted by a leading university estimated that employee theft is responsible for 47 percent of retail store inventory shrinkage.


That represents in excess of 20-billion dollars per year across the retail industry.  The impact of this is higher prices at the register for your customers, lower pay for your team members and smaller profits for your business.


Retail Authority Offers 5 Methods For Reducing Employee Theft

1.)    Spot-check inventory counts during store visits – One of the activities we train on during our multi-unit store management course is the importance of conducting periodic unannounced visits.  During these visits a key function is to randomly double-check actual inventory counts against the numbers in your Point-of-Sale system.  Pick out 15-30 skus of various values and make sure that your store employees see you checking.

2.)    Conduct cash drawer reconciliations – Another key activity during these visits is to manually check the cash and credit card totals against the totals in your POS system.  In fact, you could have your manager conduct daily checks and maintain a log for your inspection!

3.)    Attend physical inventories – Staying on the “inspect what you expect” theme, taking part in physical inventories of your stores is a great way to deter – or catch – theft.  Inventory time is the perfect time for employees to manipulate your counts, so attending the inventory does more than show your team members that you care, it eliminates opportunity for fraud.

4.)    Increase awareness with employees – While employee theft is responsible for almost half of all shrink, the truth is that relatively few employees cause this.  Most team members want to do the right thing, so provide them with a retail loss prevention course like the ones offered by RTS and encourage them to report any potential issues.

5.)    Use exception reporting – Team members who steal almost always leave a paper trail or some other indicator of their activity.  So use your POS reports to find the train.  This includes refund reports, void reports, cash-to-credit purchase ratio reports, inventory write-offs and more.  If you see something wrong, dig in and make sure your people know you are doing so.

While nothing is guaranteed, but multi-unit retail managers and store owners can improve their results thorough inspecting what they expect.


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