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- Organized retail crime has contributed to a $94.5 billion inventory-shrink problem for the retail industry.
- Companies from Walgreens to Target have been sounding the alarm on growing retail theft for months.
- Retail criminals steal across many different product categories, per the National Retail Federation.
If you see containers of Tide detergent locked up in your local Walmart or Target, you may have organized retail criminals to blame.
A 2022 survey conducted by the National Retail Federation found laundry detergent to be among the most stolen items in organized retail crime, which has contributed to a $94.5 billion inventory shrinkage issue for the retail industry.
These crimes aren’t as simple as a lone shoplifter pocketing a product. Instead, criminal organizations are stealing large quantities of goods and reselling them for profit.
And organized retail crime is not the $10,000 jewelry heist you see in the movies, Jake Stauch, the director of product for the security company Verkada, previously told Insider.
Rather, he said a group of individuals that “specialize in a certain category,” like thermal coats, steal the goods in thefts or “smash-and-grab” jobs where they break into the retailer, and then resell the goods through new distribution channels like online marketplaces or sell the goods back to local retailers.
Here are the most popular items targeted for organized retail crime as identified by the National Retail Federation, in no particular order.
Denim clothes are among the most likely items to be targeted in organized retail crime.
- Designer apparel
Organized retail criminals like to target charging cords, according to the National Retail Federation.
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- Charging cords
Health and Beauty
Fragrances catch the eyes of organized retail criminals.
- Medication (allergy and pain)
- Blades and razors
- Body wash
Organized retail criminals may steal watches and resell them at a higher price.
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- Designer handbags
- Fashion and fine jewelry
- Designer sunglasses
- Branded eyewear
Shoe retailers need to be wary of organized retail criminals.
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- Men’s and women’s footwear
- Athletic shoes and sneakers
- Designer shoes
Bedding is one of the top targets for organized retail crime.
- Home goods
- High-end mirrors
Home Depot and Lowe’s have developed ways to keep power tools from working if stolen.
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- Power tools and equipment
- Outdoor and seasonal tools
Printers, ink cartridges and toner all catch the eyes of organized retail criminals.
- Ink cartridges
Food and Beverages
Meat and other grocery items are also stolen by organized retail criminals.
- Energy drinks
Infant formula, which has been in short supply, is a target of organized retail crime.
- Infant formula
- Infant and toddler items
- Children’s toys
Gift cards also aren’t safe from organized retail crime.
- Pet Medication
- Travel items
- Physical and electronic gift cards