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March 13, 2013 SUBSCRIBE

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Top six retail loss prevention trends for 2013

By JENNIFER OVERSTREET | Published: MARCH 12, 2013

Dealing with everything from shoplifting to extreme weather, the retail loss prevention profession requires constant vigilance in order to protect employees, customers and assets.

While the range of threats is far-reaching, a few continuing and evolving trends are shaping the industry in profound ways. To explain the retail loss prevention landscape, we asked Rosamaria Sostilio, Senior Vice President of Asset Protection at Saks Incorporated and Vice Chair of NRF’s LP Advisory Council, to share her observations about what to watch this year.

Read on for Sostilio’s description of the top-of-mind concerns for retail loss prevention officers, many of which will be explored in detail at this summer’s NRF Loss Prevention Conference & EXPO.

1. Increased concern over violence in apprehension of shoplifters
Retailers are acutely aware of the too many violent incidents that have resulted in injury or death for LP or security officers, police officers and the suspects over the past year.

“We’re seeing increased violence in certain pockets around the country, and this is prompting loss prevention professionals everywhere to evaluate their response plans and step up communication and training with their associates to keep them safe and make sure they’re careful when they’re making apprehensions.”

2. Emphasis on emergency response plans
Retailers and other property managers struggling to develop comprehensive emergency response plans and training that can be quickly and effectively executed during shooting incidents in and around retail centers. Business continuity and recovery plans are also in the spotlight after the number and severity of recent storms caught some businesses off guard.

“Retailers are realizing that not only do they need a great emergency response plan, but that it needs to be rehearsed and communicated down the chain appropriately. The key is to get all the appropriate business partners – from media relations to operations and stores – in a room to talk about what could happen and what the company’s response would be in the situation. Then, the cascading of that communication and rehearsal of the plan is essential, so that employees have some sort of comfort level with it. The same is true for business continuity and recovery plans. Retailers are now beginning to step up these efforts.”

3. Retailers and law enforcement taking organized approach to fight ORC
Organized retail crime continues to be a concern for retailers, but more retailers and law enforcement agencies are joining forces to curb it effectively.

“Every region has its own type of organized retail crime, so partnering with local law enforcement as well as your fellow retailers and mall management is critical. Regional ORC associations are finding new ways to help police, other law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, retailers and mall management share information and discuss how to identify and apprehend ORC gangs. Networking and sharing information is critical because nothing is unique to one retailer, and there’s definitely strength in numbers. That’s why meetings like the NRF LP Conference and Fusion Center are so important, as well.”

4. Incorporating emerging technologies
New technologies introduce new opportunities as well as new threats, and loss prevention professionals will be spending more time with senior leadership evaluating advancing technologies along with the effect social media is having on the profession.

“Video analytics, facial recognition software and mobile POS are all hot new technologies out there being tested in the community right now. And while the growth of social media can be a liability and make our jobs a little more difficult, we’re also using it more and more as an investigative tool. One other area where retailers are stepping up is deploying business analytics programs that focus on point of sale and returns in conjunction with enhanced video surveillance. These programs not only help the LP teams but they can help manage the overall business strategies, efficiencies and control fraud.”

5. Developing background screening practices
Developing practical and effective background screening practices in light of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines released in April 2012 continues to be a challenge for retailers and other organizations.

“When it comes to employment pre-screenings, a lot of companies are assessing what policies work and what the EEOC guidelines mean for them. Those interested in how these legislative issues are impacting the industry should get involved in our LP Legislative Committee and share their insights and possible solutions.”

6. Greater career growth opportunities in LP
As technology and multichannel models begin to create new opportunities in LP, more retailers are understanding the value of what LP brings to the table.

“Loss prevention professionals are becoming more engrained in the retail business and companies are realizing the talent that’s out there. LP touches almost every part of the business, so the more business savvy you are, the more interested you are in learning about your own company, the farther you can go into a senior officer position, not just in LP, but in other areas from HR to operations.”

These trends and more are shaping the developing agenda for NRF’s Loss Prevention Conference & EXPO, June 12 to 14 in San Diego. Visit to learn more.

This article was published by and recently appeared in LP portion of Retail's BIG blog, a part of the National Retail Federation's (NRF) website.  An excellent resource for LP executives to incorporate in your quest for information and education of the LP industry. This is an industry leading publication and one of the best, if not the best, resource for industry leading, thought provoking material that you need to use as you continue to build your career.


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Northern Michigan University, located in Michigan’s incredible Upper Peninsula, offers one of the only baccalaureate loss prevention management programs in the United States. It is offered completely online and accepts up to 92 transfer credits. An affordable investment into a dynamic and growing profession. Learn more here

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Washington Senators aim to prevent ‘flash robs’ with organized retail theft bill
Sen. Mike Carrell said he introduced a bill in response to a group of teens staging a flash rob at a Portland Nordstrom last April. The Lakewood Republican said there haven’t been any flash robs in Washington, and he hopes the legislation will prevent them from occurring. Under Senate Bill 5178, groups of at least six people who steal at least $500 in merchandise can be charged with organized retail theft. The group must also have used electronic communication – emails, text messages or social media – to organize the theft. Current state law allows groups who steal $750 in merchandise to be charged with organized retail theft. (Source

U.S. retail sales on fastest pace in 5 months in February - up 1.1%  
Americans spent at the fastest pace in five months in February, boosting retail spending 1.1 percent compared with January. About half the jump reflected higher gas prices, but even excluding gas purchases, retail sales rose 0.6 percent. (Source

Source tells Reuters J.C. Penney Board prepared to give Johnson another six months  Their stock rose 5% yesterday amid talk that CEO Johnson might step down. But the company said there's no basis for that rumor. They're gearing up for his store within a store concept taking off this year at full speed with 30 new boutiques this year and Joe Fresh opening in 700 locations. But the Board wants enough time to gauge progress at Joe Fresh and Penney's new home section, to be launched in May, before any possible move to remove it. Now that home section - well that's another story all by itself. Let's see if Stewart's stores remain in the game after the mediation. (Source

30% of 100 retail CFO's say U.S. expansion is priority in 2013 
Expanding retailers like Apple and H&M will continue to look for Class-A store locations in high-traffic spots to afford better access and convenience for customers. In addition to store expansion, CFOs also say improving merchandise assortment (24 percent) and e-commerce and mobile commerce (22 percent) will be top growth tactics this year. In addition to investing in existing stores, we're also seeing several online brands introduce storefronts for the first time as they look to appeal to shoppers who want to see and try on merchandise in person." (Source

Costco to accelerate openings to 30+ over next few years 
Twenty-eight locations this year — up from 20 in 2011 and 16 in 2012. Costco has already opened 14 stores this year. Encompassing four in the U.S.; five in Japan; two in the United Kingdom; and one each in Taiwan, Australia and Mexico. (Source

Kate Spade to use iPads as retail signage - Think about the security aspects & opportunities of this roll-out  Apple has used iPads as in-store signs since early 2011, putting the tablets in front of each and every product -- even its $49 iPod shuffle. The encased iPads display information about nearby products like prices and configurations to let customers compare and customize models. There's also the option to page a retail employee to come over to provide assistance. Apple iPads will be strategically positioned throughout the shop, featuring content that is relevant to items in proximity, such as timely marketing messages, style suggestions and video, and user-generated images to encourage engagement with the brand and its products," the company said in a release today. "The iPads will additionally educate customers on multiple ways to wear and use select products." (Source

CyberSource's Digital Wallets On-Demand Webinar - The new wave coming - Stay Informed  Trying to decipher the mobile/digital wallet landscape? Hear what our experts have to say and gain key insights on how to form your digital wallet strategy. What's driving the digital wallet buzz? Why care? What types of wallets exist? Acceptance considerations? Product Review: by Visa, the new digital wallet from Visa. With this development moving so fast it's important to stay informed. (Source

Google Glass and the shopper that's right around the corner - You've gotta see this one!  What would it be like to shop with Google Glass? Omaha-based ConAgra Foods, which owns popular frozen food brands like Healthy Choice and Marie Callender's, worked with Google's newly created shopper marketing division to develop the video, illustrating how consumers might use technologies like Google's to shop for groceries. Here's How It'll Feel to Wear Google Glass. (Source

U.S. court says Feds need reasonable suspicion to search laptops at borders 
This ruling is significant because it is first to establish a standard for border searches of electronic devices. In what is seen as a significant ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last week held that border agents do need to have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct forensic searches of electronic devices belonging to travelers at the border. (Source

New Orleans Six Flags will not be redeveloped into a high end outlet mall.  An executive with the company that owns the Riverwalk Marketplace says it won't join city-selected developers to turn the former Six Flags theme park into an upscale outlet mall. The rejection came when David Garcia, who represents the business chosen to develop the Six Flags site, publicly called on Riverwalk owner Howard Hughes Corp. to work with his group to save the plan. Garcia then told New Orleans' Industrial Development Board on Tuesday that the market cannot support both proposals. Howard Hughes Corp. owns the Riverwalk and is turning it into an outlet mall. Hughes Corp. says 55 percent of the Riverwalk property planned for the outlet mall is leased to retailers and another 25 percent is awaiting signatures. (Source

Simon Property Security and Indianapolis Police team up on weekend shifts to end Mall violence.  The Indianapolis Police met with Simon Property Group officials Tuesday to devise a plan to combat mall violence among Indianapolis teens. Mall officials tell police they intend to break up the crowds that might be looking for trouble. Mall Security will also be handing out a letter to parents dropping off their children covering the mall code of conduct. (Source

Bomb Threats Reported at Walmarts across West, including Fallon, NV. - the problem continues  Bomb threats are being reported at Walmart stores across the West Coast. It's unclear at this time if they are connected. The Walmart in Fallon was shut down for several hours Tuesday night because of a bomb threat. New agencies in Marysville, California are reporting a bomb threat forced the Yuba County Sheriff’s Department to evacuate a Walmart there. As of 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night, deputies were still working to get bomb sniffing dogs to the scene. Also, two bomb threats in Arizona stores Tuesday afternoon. (Source (Source

GameStop robbed at gunpoint in Burlington, North Carolina. 
Police are searching for two suspects who robbed a video game store at gunpoint Tuesday night in Burlington. Officers responded to the GameStop at 8:30 p.m. Police say two men who were armed with handguns entered the store and demanded money from employees and a customer. Afterward, the suspects forced the victims toward the back of the store, where police say they tied them up. Police were called to the scene after the victims were able to free themselves. The suspects were wearing ski masks, but police say one of the suspects removed his mask before leaving the store. (Source

West Covina Police hoping to capture suspect in the beating of an LP Agent.  West Covina Police are seeking the help of the public to identify the suspects who beat a JC Penney’s Loss Prevention agent at the Westfield Center on February 24. The agent was approaching the suspected shoplifters, a couple with two small children, when the male suspect turned and punch the agent. The agent retreated back into the store, but the suspect followed and continued to punch the agent as he laid on the floor. The agent suffered a fractured nose, cuts, swelling and bruises. (Source

Strip Mall Security Guard fights with disorderly customer at the DMV.  The State of Wisconsin DMV asked a customer to leave the office because the music he was playing was too loud. The Security Guard on duty was asked to escort the man out of the building. A fight between the customer and the guard ensued and the security guard was body slammed to the ground. The strip mall property owner says this type of behavior at the state office is fairly common. (Source

Armed Security guard faces off with three armed suspects in Harbor City liquor store.  The three suspects entered the store with guns drawn and quickly restrained the guard and taking his weapon. The three suspects took the cash from the register and fled. No one was injured during the robbery. (Source

Mother Sentenced to Jail after leaving 10 year old daughter with stolen goods. 
A Morgan Hill, California mother, who fled last year after telling her daughter to push a cart full of stolen groceries out of a Safeway grocery store, was sentenced to 60 days at the Santa Clara County jail. Marci Erico will also serve three years of probation. A judge ordered her to complete classes in theft prevention and parenting. In September of last year, Erico told her ten-year-old daughter to take a cart full of $145 worth of groceries and beer from inside a Safeway store out to the parking lot. When officials noticed the theft, Erico fled with her other son leaving the daughter behind at the store. Erico was charged with commercial burglary and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. (Source

Quarterly Same Store Sales Results

Stage Store 4Q revenue up 10%
Michael's 4Q up 1.7% with net sales up 8.5%
Express 4Q up 1.5% with revenue up 8%
The Bon Ton 4Q up 1% with revenue up 3.2%


LPF Certification Courses
Granted Academic Honor

Matthews, NC (March 11, 2013)-
The Loss Prevention Foundation (LPF) certification courses, the LPQualified (LPQ) and the LPCertified (LPC), have been granted an academic honor of excellence awarded by the Order of the Sword and Shield National Honor Society (OSSNHS). The LPF is the first loss prevention industry association to be granted this academic distinction.

After a recent program review, the OSSNHS found the LPQ and the LPC to have content, scope, rigor, and assessment standards on par with traditional academic learning institutions. As a result, OSSNHS has granted LPF its very own chapter of this National Honor Society, a distinction usually reserved for the top college and university programs in the loss prevention discipline.

The OSSNHS is the only academic honor society dedicated exclusively to the entire security learning community. OSSNHS recognizes only those industry associations with certification programs which are considered to be truly academic in nature.

All LPC and LPQ certification holders will be admitted onto the OSSNHS master honor roll, should the certification holder so choose. There are no costs or fees for this academic honor.

"We are honored to have received this academic assessment and acknowledgement; and look forward to building a strong collaborative relationship with the Order of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society," said Gene Smith, president of The Loss Prevention Foundation. "We also thank Jeffery P. Grossman, JD, Assistant Professor of Homeland Security and Corporate Security Studies, St. John's University and managing director of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society for his leadership in recognizing public and private sector programs that meet excellence in academic standards."

"Our review team was extremely impressed with the learning processes LPF has incorporated into their certification programs", said Professor Grossmann. Having been responsible for hundreds of academic reviews of programs belonging to the Department of Defense and several branches of our nation's military, non-traditional adult education institutions, and traditional college and university academic disciplines himself, Professor Grossmann noted that "the LPF certification system has a solid foundation and should be considered a benchmark process within their industry".

LPF - Media Contact: Gene Smith, 866.433.5545,

OSSNHS - Media Contact Jeffrey P. Grossmann, 718-990-7436,


Axonify. Read how Pep Boys reduced their shrink by 55% by overhauling their LP awareness program. Download.


Saudi Arabia executes 7 men for ORC by firing squad  The men were sentenced to death in 2009 after being found guilty of organising a criminal group, armed robbery and breaking into jewelry shops. It had been expected that the men would be beheaded, but unconfirmed reports over the weekend said the authorities had been forced to resort to using firing squads because of a shortage of swordsmen. (Source

Three women arrested after hitting the same store day after day in Clarkesville, Tennessee.  Three women were charged with theft after attempting to shoplift the same store they shoplifted two days earlier. The two women, 23-year-old Angela Cain and 51-year-old Theresa Combs, were recognized because they shoplifted there two days earlier. Detectives in the area went to the store while nearby officers spotted a vehicle believed to be occupied by lookouts for the women inside. As the store's loss prevention officer had suspected, Cain and Combs were shoplifting again. They were caught with stolen items amounting to $1,116. (Source

ORC gang of three busted hitting J.C. Penney in Wichita  Three people were charged with organized retail theft over $1,500, under $20,000 for their roles in allegedly stealing merchandise from JC Penny’s. One was an employee who scanned and bagged the merchandise. (Source

San Antonio Police arrest two females at Home Depot, possible connection to ORC.  Two females are in custody after attempting to steal small power tools from the Home Depot. Police believe these same two may be connected to a grab and run at another local Home Depot store. A Loss Prevention agent was cut with a box cutter attempting to make the apprehension. The cut was not serious. (Source

Do you have an ORC case to share? Publishing it educates the LP & retail community
which might fuel even more jobs and funding.
Share your ORC news and help the industry grow

The Georgia Retail Association Loss Prevention Council (GRALPC) and the Georgia Retail Association Organized Retail Crime Alliance (GRAORCA) would like to invite you to attend the -

2013 GRAORCA Retail Crime Conference!

Our annual conference will continue to build on our mission of providing Law Enforcement and Loss Prevention professionals with opportunities to come together for Professional Networking, Training and Information Sharing.

The GRAORCA Retail Crime Conference will be held in downtown Atlanta at AmericasMart, Bldg. 2, 230 Spring Street, Atlanta, GA on May 16th, 2013 from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. The day includes complimentary lunch and refreshments, as well as a post - conference reception.

We are pleased to announce some exciting changes
for this year’s event!

  •  We are moving within AmericasMart from a 10,000 sq ft space to a 55,000 sq ft. venue.

  •  There is NO CHARGE to register and attend this year’s Conference.

  •  A new format has been designed to include breakout sessions, that the attendee can select.

  •  The list of keynotes & breakout speakers is rapidly growing on relevant industry topics.


The 2013 conference includes a Vendor Trade Show with industry vendors and Community Outreach Organizations. The Vendor Trade show is designed to provide exposure to technologies and community programs that can help both retail and law enforcement organizations positively impact crime.

The Conference is open to all Law Enforcement Professionals, Loss Prevention Professionals, and Retail Owners/Executives and we anticipate POST Certification and CFI credits for attendance.

Topics and Special Guests, scheduled to present:

  •  Mobile POS/Cyber Fraud - Joe LaRocca, Senior Advisor - Retail Partners
  •  ORC “A Gateway Crime” - Denny Dansak, Director of Organized Retail Crime - Kroger
  •  Navigating Complex Investigations with Cellular Technology - Joe Davis, Director of LP Ops/Major Crimes - T-Mobile
  •  Successfully Prosecuting ORC Cases - John Melvin, Cobb County District Attorney’s Office
  •  Gang Impacts on Retail Crime - JGabriel Banks, Fulton County District Attorney’s Office - Gang Unit Plus many other industry speakers and topics of relevance for Law


All attendees must pre-register for the Conference. Space is limited!

To register please go to:

Sponsorship opportunities are available for both retailers and vendors. Click here for information.


Thought Challenge

2013 Thought Challenge

As the judges are still tabulating the results for 2012,
the 2013 Thought Challenge Awards Program is underway.

Lessons learned along the Way

By Kevin Larson
Sr. Manager of LP Operations
The Kroger Company

Throughout our careers we run into various people in leadership, through networking, projects, meetings, seminars, conferences and of our past and present bosses. Through these interactions, although sometimes brief, we can learn a lot by what these people say and through their actions.

Steven Covey once said “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Over my years in Loss Prevention as I have transitioned through various companies, roles and levels of leadership, I have picked up on a few things. I have been fortunate to learn from such leaders as Keith White, John Talamo and now Karl Langhorst. Today, I would like to share a few of things with you...

√ When you run into a member of leadership in the hallway or work café and they say “Hey ____ what’s going on?” ...Always have something to say. Talk about a new project you’re working on or a store or district that you just visited. The standard “not much”...will get you that exact same thing in your career growth.

√  Be vocal and engaging...when attending a meeting with executives and the dialogue turns to areas that are not your expertise. Don’t be afraid to speak up and engage with the team. Even if it is just to say that you agree with someone’s stance or recommendation.

√  Look for new ways to add value back to the company. What can you’re Regional, District or even store agents do to assist in identifying shrink, markdowns or checking on the latest promotions or floor sets. Remember, it’s Loss Prevention, not Loss Reaction.

√  If it’s lonely at top, you not doing something right...Building strategic partnerships are the key navigating the waters of the company. Meet as many people as you can from departments like, marketing, finance, product development and Information Technology. These relationships or even quick interactions will come back ten-fold when you are looking to roll-out a new program, strategy or just for those times when you need someone else in your corner.

√  Know your able to speak to your latest shrink results, dishonest associate cases, apprehensions, ORC recoveries, audit results and other key metrics.

√  One of the hardest people to lead will always be you. Hold yourself accountable, otherwise it will diminish your leadership qualities. Develop your self- awareness.

√  Always ask will make you better, more consistent and probably prevent you from making mistakes. It has been told to me that you only get answers to questions that you ask.

√  Keep Learning to help yourself keep leading...take the time to invest in personal development. If you stop promoting development, than your team will stop growing.

√  Always ask for an evaluation from others...having someone else critique your strengths and developmental needs is better than sitting down with your review and completing yourself assessment. Once you find your strength, focus on it to become more successful.

I hope my past learning’s and coaching’s have left you will something to think about. I hope that along your journey you too have stopped to listen and reflect on some of the advice that people have given you, if not...slow down, take a deep breath, open your eyes, close your mouth and begin to learn.

"Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere as long as the policy you've decided upon is being carried out."  — Ronald Reagan

Kevin can be reached at


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Confident Leadership, Outside the Comfort Zone  By definition, change requires individuals to take on a host of new roles and responsibilities. For even the most seasoned leaders, guiding an organization through uncharted waters can be an immensely challenging task. (The most daunting challenge)

5 Easy Ways to Feel More Confident  You must believe in yourself as a leader before anyone else will take you seriously. But what if it doesn't come naturally? Can you train yourself to believe in your ultimate success? This article may be geared more towards entrepreneurs, but the advice can benefit everyone in any work field! (Become "unreasonable")

What We Can Learn About Leadership from March Madness  With March Madness starting soon, it seems a good time to reflect on some unique management lessons that basketball can teach us. (Pay attention to more than your brackets)

Just Lin, Baby! 10 Lessons Jeremy Lin Can Teach Us Before We Go To Work Monday Morning  Last year at this time Lin-sanity swept up the NBA, and it seems the phenomenon had gone worldwide. What can we all learn from this young man, and how can we apply these same lessons to our own lives? (#8 will please your coworkers)



Accepting criticism and feedback is probably one of the hardest things to do, especially if it's unexpected or from an individual or group that's not really informed well enough to offer constructive criticism. Coming from our superiors or clients, criticism and feedback can truly be valuable and help mold the path a person needs to take in changing or modifying behavior and improving relationships. It all boils down to whether or not you're willing to accept it and really hear what they're saying or not saying. It's human nature to automatically respond defensively and rationalize what you're hearing, thus avoiding having to own it. However, the wise person learns to listen and force themselves not to respond other than to acknowledge that they heard it.

Just a thought,
Gus Downing

Gus Downing

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