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March 27, 2013

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Wal-Mart tests in-store lockers for online orders.  Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will be testing this summer an option for consumers to be able to order product on its website and then have it kept in a physical locker at the store so they can pick it up without having to wait in line or talk to a store clerk. The test, which will be conducted in about a dozen stores in an undisclosed market, is part of the world's largest retailer's overall strategy to offer increasingly demanding web-savvy shoppers the ability to shop any way they want. The company is also expanding its offerings online and improving a new "scan and go" shopping app so customers can immediately download coupons personalized to them. (Source reuters.com)

Wal-Mart reveals it may lose more then $157 million in bribery probes.  Wal-Mart Stores Inc. revealed in a Tuesday SEC filing that it will most likely incur a loss from bribery probes into its operations in Mexico and other countries. According to the filing, Wal-Mart said it expects to incur costs beyond the $157 million it spent on the probes in 2013, but didn’t elaborate on the amount or the size of the potential loss. "Given the on-going nature and complexity of the review, inquiries and investigations, we cannot reasonably estimate any loss or range of loss that may arise from these matters," Wal-Mart said in the filing. (Source huffingtonpost.com)

Dollar General to open 635 stores in 2013; total store count will be over 11,000. 
Dollar General had two very positive announcements this week: fourth quarter sales increased 3% and the growth of the company will continue with the opening of 635 stores this year. During 2012, the Dollar General opened 625 new stores and remodeled or relocated 592 other stores to end the year with a total of 10,506 stores. (Source retailingtoday.com)

Rue 21 celebrates the opening of its 900th store.  Rue 21 has opened 500 stores in the last 5 years and expected to open 125 stores in 2013. CEO Bob Fisch is very pleased with the growth, hoping to achieve his long range goals for the chain to top 1700 stores. (Source retailsolutionsonline.com)

Swatch Group completes purchase of Harry Winston for $1 Billion.  Harry Winston Diamond Corp. said it has received regulatory approval to complete the sale of its luxury diamond jewelry and timepiece division, Harry Winston, Inc., to the Swatch Group. The Toronto-based company closed the deal yesterday. The two companies announced in January that the Harry Winston luxury division was being sold to the Swatch Group for $750 million plus their assumption of up to $250 million of pro forma net debt. In addition to being a luxury jeweler and timepiece company, Harry Winston Diamond Corp. operates as a diamond mining company with a 40 percent ownership interest in the Diavik Diamond Mine. (Source forbes.com)

Tory Burch defends her brand against counterfeiters; third case in the past few months.  Tory Burch takes an aggressive stand on counterfeit goods and copycatting, she even sued her ex-husband last year. Burch filed a lawsuit this past week against New York based Bluebell Accessories. Burch has an educational FAQ section dealing with counterfeiting issues on her website. (Source crainsnewyork.com)

Man arrested for stabbing three people inside a Pittsburgh Target store; suspect has a history with Police.  Investigators say the man ran into the store in the East Liberty neighborhood on Monday after a fight with several men nearby. They say he slashed two men and stabbed and seriously injured the girl. The 16-year-old girl who was used as a shield and stabbed by a homeless man was visiting Pittsburgh with her family while on spring break from her school in Tennessee. The young girl is reportedly in stable condition. (Source post-gazette.com)

Arrests made in murder near Lafayette Square Mall.  Indianapolis Metro Police officials made two arrests Tuesday in connection to the shooting death of a man near Lafayette Square Mall. Maron Jackson, 24, was arrested for the March 13 murder of Robert Mitcham. Police also arrested 19-year-old Dominique Hughes for assisting a criminal and vehicle theft. Both Jackson and Hughes are currently being held in the Marion County Jail. IMPD officials said they believe Mitcham was shot in the parking lot of Lafayette Square Mall, though the 911 call came from a business a couple blocks down the road. (Source theindychannel.com)

Second Ex-Hospital Worker Sentenced in Identity Theft.  A second ex-employee at a southern Illinois hospital has been sentenced to federal prison for her role in stealing personal information from patients and using it to open credit cards in their names. A judge in East St. Louis ordered Susan Harris to spend four years in prison. During the trial, prosecutors contended Harris conspired with Ashley Drummond to steal information from elderly patients' charts and open credit card accounts in the patients' names. Evidence against Harris included footage from a store security camera showing her using one of the credit cards. Drummond pleaded guilty and has already been sentenced to two years in prison. (Source ksdk.com)

Owner now under investigation for staging a robbery of his Rochester, New York Pawn shop.  Four suspects get a reduced sentence following new information leading to the suspension that the store robbery was staged by the owner for insurance money. Police believe the weapon used in the hold-up may also have been a fake. Prosecutors are now seeking new charges against the store owner. The four men recruited to hold-up the store each received 3 and half years in prison. (Source whec.com)

Two armed robberies in the last three days have Stony Point Mall in Richmond on alert. On Tuesday, shoppers could see the increased levels of security both by the mall as well as local law enforcement. The two robberies are the first such events to occur since the upscale outdoor mall opened nearly 10 years ago. Monday, Fink’s Jewelers lost over $100,000 in merchandise and Saturday the Foot Locker was hit for cash and merchandise, no one was injured in either robbery. (Source timesdispatch.com)

Serial Jewelry Department thief wanted in Detroit: string of heist total over $70,000. A hooded suspect is captured on video as he smashes out a showcase of a Detroit area Kohl’s department store. Four area stores have been hit over the last two weeks, with the suspect smashing his way into the store, then smashing out showcases. (Source clickondetroit.com)

Naples, Florida man returns to the same Walmart attempting to steal another TV. Sunday Raymond Ruggiero was lucky, getting away with a 39 inch television, so he comes back the next day pushing his luck and even upgrading to the 46 inch model. Ruggiero was recognized, stopped by Loss Prevention where he grabbed the LP Associate by the throat. Ruggiero was detained and now faces grand theft, battery and resisting charges. (Source naplesnews.com)

Michigan State Police are working the Ultra Diamond Store burglary: $230,000 in inventory missing.  Earlier in March burglars smashed out the front door glass, then smashed out showcase of the Ultra Diamond store in the Tanger Outlet Mall in Howell, Michigan. Michigan State Police are hoping the public can assist with information on this case. (Source clickondetroit.com)

Costco associate accused of $6000 in refund scam in Boca Raton.  A Boca Raton Costco Associate used his Mother’s Costco membership to falsely refund a television for cash, one issue, his mother lives in Puerto Rico. Between July and February, Christian Morales stole nearly $6000 by writing up fraudulent refund transactions. (Source palmbeachpost.com)

Seattle’s Grocery Outlet is the site a fast moving burglar.  Police are looking for a man who broke into the Grocery Outlet early Sunday morning and filled a cart with goods he swept off the shelves. Police said they responded to a call about a break-in about 3:40 a.m. Sunday. A look at the surveillance video shows the burglar broke into the store and went on a shopping spree, filling his cart with beer, wine, candy and clothing before fleeing. (Source mynorthwest.com)



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Op/Ed
 

Maximizing Education at Professional Conferences – Part II



By Walt Palmer, CFE, CFI, CPP
President
PCG Solutions

Attendance at an industry conferences offers several opportunities – education, networking, vendor exhibit halls, one on one meetings with other attendees, and, of course, many receptions and social events. Each of these activities can bring value to your professional development, but, this week, I want to focus on how you maximize the amount of professional education you achieve at a conference.

Educational Sessions

Unfortunately, too many attendees give short shrift to the educational sessions. At events like FMI, NRF, and RILA, you will probably have twenty or more sessions to choose from over the course of 2-3 days. At bigger trade shows, like ASIS or the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), the sessions actually number in the 100’s.

Now, will every session appeal to you? Of course not. Most associations intentionally try to cover a spectrum of topics to ensure they address the concerns of a somewhat diverse attendee list, but there may be slots where you feel like there is nothing particularly relevant to you or your organization. Here’s my recommendation in that situation, “Attend a session anyway!”

Maybe, just maybe, it is possible that a session on developing an effective training program on safety in the distribution network might yield some insights for you as you develop a training program for the stores on shrink. Perhaps a session on managing investigators in the field might ring a bell with you as to a technique or method you can use to manage direct reports at the corporate office. Hearing what someone is doing in the grocery store business relative to spoilage might lead you to different thinking on how you manage damages in your environment.

Too often, it seems, we want solutions wrapped up in a nice bow and given to us in exactly the place and time we, and our organization, are living in. If that is your expectation, you might as well stay home because it is an unrealistic one. As audience members, you have to do some work to find a way to apply the message from the session.

In addition, who knows what responsibilities you might have in the future? Maybe you will be promoted or maybe you will change companies or maybe you will go from big-box hardline retail into mall-based apparel specialty retail. A session or lesson that you might not be able to apply today could be a key issue for you in four months.

The Naysayers

Let’s address the most common negative comments you may hear about the educational sessions and I’ll give my take on each one.

The speaker was awful/monotone/unprepared/a dufus.

Does this happen? Yes, of course. The nature of having volunteers present on a big stage sometimes leads to less than perfect presentation skills. The industry associations do their best to run quality control, but it is an inexact science. Can it be painful to sit through? Yes, of course. But, try to get past the style and focus on listening for the substance. There are some really bright individuals in the business world who are not polished speakers. And, yes, I have actually heard attendees describe a speaker as a “dufus.”

This is going to be more and more of the same ol’, same ol’

Do I ever get bored of hearing another presentation on training programs or what it is like to be a new Director or ORC or fill in the blank? Yes, of course. But, sometimes I’m also surprised at a new insight that I have not heard before. Or, maybe I’m reminded of something I’ve heard in the past but had let slip from my attention. Maybe I hear a familiar message but get to know a little about the presenter that I have not met before.

Don’t you think professional athletes get tired of doing the same basic fundamental drills over and over again? But, they do it because we all need to be reminded of the fundamental building blocks of our craft and profession.

A “Secret” Tip to Learn More

What about the session that you attend that is really good, has great applicability to your organization, and is something you want to take back and implement? What can you do to learn more?

It is simple. All you have to do is go up to the speaker after the session and exchange contact information and set up a time, while you are both still at the conference, to ask some additional questions. Ideally, this happens right at the conclusion of the session. If the speaker has another commitment they have to go to, try and set a specific time and place to meet that afternoon to talk further.

You will almost always find the speaker is willing to spend some time with you. Chances are they are passionate about the topic (that is why they were on the dais to begin with). They have spent hours and hours on this topic and the presentation and most assuredly were not able to cover every bit of knowledge they have on the subject in the allotted time. They probably have more examples of what they have done in their organization and may also be able to refer you to additional resources.

If you are not able to meet at the conference, wait about four days from the conclusion and send a polite email complimenting them on their presentation (every speaker likes to hear this) and asking for some time to chat with them on the phone.

It is Up to You

Ultimately, you have to decide how much value the educational sessions have to offer you. Perhaps you, unlike me or most of the folks I know in our business, know all the answers yourself and within your company. If so, kudos to you and enjoy your time at the pool or on the golf course. Otherwise, I’ll see you in the sessions.


Bio:  Walter Palmer, CFE, CFI, CPP is president of PCG Solutions, a loss prevention training and awareness firm. Prior to founding PCG, Palmer spent sixteen years in retail in LP, inventory control, and operations. Palmer is cofounder of LP Magazine and LPjobs.com and serves on multiple industry advisory boards. He is a frequent speaker at industry event both in the U.S. and internationally. In addition, Palmer is a member of the American Society for Training & Development, the International Society for Performance Improvement, and the Society for Human Resource Management. He can be reached at wpalmer@PCGsolutions.com.

 

ORC News
 
Six arrested in Phoenix connected to home and business burglaries; second burglary ring busted in last two weeks.  Four men and 2 women were taken into custody following the seizure of over $20,000 of stolen property. Local, County and Federal Law Enforcement agents worked together on this case which began in mid 2012. Electronics, jewelry and tobacco were recovered and will be cataloged by the county Sheriff’s department. (Source muskogeephoenix.com)

Pennsylvania man spends 60 days in jail for $1.79 pack of Twizzlers; and connected to $750,000 ORC ring. Joseph Taylor was apprehended at a local convenience store for stealing candy, spending the last 59 days in jail. One day in the Adams County jail, Taylor was turned over to York County where he faces charges for being part of an organized crime ring that stole over $750,000 from retailers through theft and refund fraud. Over 110 people have been charged with this operation. (Source eveningsun.com)

Three arrested at Cabelas for shoplifting in West Virginia; attempting to support a drug habit.  On Monday, Ohio County Sheriff’s deputies arrested three men for stealing pro-sport cameras. Store employees at Cabelas noticed via surveillance video that the men were in the process of stealing the cameras and they notified police. Police say the men intended on using the merchandise to sell for heroin money. Pills, drug paraphernalia, needles and used heroin bags were found in their vehicle. (Source wtrf.com)

Reporting ORC news increases awareness -
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Retail registration is currently outpacing 2012!
Showcase at the retail asset protection event that retailers are flocking to!

Many companies are bringing teams of five or more executives: 7-Eleven, Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Big Lots, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dollar General, Family Dollar, jcpenney, Lowe's, PETCO, PetSmart, Publix, Home Depot, Home Depot Canada, Target, The Pep Boys, Walmart and Walgreens. See registered companies here.

MORE Dedicated Exhibit Hall Time: RILA has added an Exhibit Hall Preview Hour on Monday, April 29, from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. This time will focus on engaging the retailers much earlier in the conference.

MORE Chances to Network: Golf is moving to Sunday, so now you can attend both the charity golf outing on Sunday and the complimentary training session on Wednesday afternoon. And with the event and hotel held in the same location, you are guaranteed to run into retailers in the restaurants and hotel lobbies.

Testimonials from Attendees:

 “The RILA Retail AP Conference is differentiated in many ways. The meaningful topics and subject matter experts that lead the discussions, the commitment to excellence and the balance that RILA leadership purposely drives between the retailers and the vendors, ensuring that both are receiving value from attending.”
- Libby Rabun
(Vice President, Loss Prevention – AutoZone)


“At the RILA Retail AP Conference, breakout sessions are assigned into tracks that allow you and your team to pick what interests you to learn or network. I like the session tracks to pick up new ideas and the vendor show room to see what is new in technology. Additionally, I bring my team to the conference for the tremendous learning experience.”
- Stan Welch
(Vice President, Loss Prevention, J. C. Penney)

“RILA was the first group to really encourage the interaction of practitioners and the companies that support them by inviting everyone to attend the great educational sessions. Sitting next to a LP leader during a presentation gives me an unprecedented opportunity to truly learn and understand the challenges they face now and in the future. As a result, my company can better deliver solutions that help those leaders be successful.”
- Cheryl Blake
(VP of Business Development, Verisk Retail, a Verisk Crime Analytics brand)



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Thought Challenge
 

2013 Thought Challenge



Implementing Change


By Samuel Edge
Regional Director Loss Prevention
Barneys New York


When was the last time you evaluated your current controls and processes and asked yourself... Is it time to implement change? An effective Loss Prevention leader is ahead of exposures, minimizing opportunities for theft. To begin implementing change, start with the phrase “This is how we have always done it” and change it. Daily routines expose vulnerabilities and create opportunities for internal theft. Make changes in your location to keep dishonest employees on their toes, forcing them to always think of a new way to circumvent your controls, which in turn will position you to isolate the activity and zero in on dishonest employees.

Implementing change requires having a fresh perspective. In order to keep yourself fresh and energized recruit ideas from your team and other employees in your building. Everyone has an opinion and an idea, be the one who listens, adopts the idea, refines it and implements it. The best way to get a great idea is to get lots of ideas.

In order to implement change you need to have creditability and partnerships within your building. You gain this by being visible, personable and having proven results. Start with a small change, gain your credibility, show your abilities and track your results. If your change isn’t working, own that, and know that first, be the one who points it out, don’t let others point out your failures. You’re only as credible as how you handled your last project.

As you begin evaluating your locations and attempting to implement change, be prepared for push back. “If it’s not broken, why fix it?” The answer... When it breaks its too late, now you’ve already incurred loss and now you’re chasing change. Challenge yourselves everyday by thinking of the new “That’s the way we’ve always done it”.

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Creating an Environment Where Mistakes are Opportunities  In this 30 Second MBA video, Brian Solis, principle analyst with the Altimeter Group, says a courage of culture is needed to recognize, learn, and leverage mistakes as learning opportunities. (Don't be discouraged by mistakes)

Why Encourage Mistakes?  You can't just tell employees that you support their decisions to take big risks that could result in mistakes -- you have to prove it to them. If employees don't make mistakes they're playing it too safe and not stretching themselves to a point that will help them grow at an accelerated rate. (Everybody makes mistakes)

Why Leaders Should Embrace Being Wrong  Especially in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse, no business leader wants to be seen as mistaken, or misguided, or just plain wrong. But running away from error is exactly the wrong response. (An opportunity to learn)

Fail Your Way to Success  When fear gets in your way, do you choose to take the risk, or do you choose certain failure? Imagine the results if we each committed to do one thing that spikes our fear of failure. Imagine if you were able to complete this statement with a modicum of confidence. (Be uber-successful)

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Tip of the Day
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In the 1980's, it was common practice when you resigned from a company to make copies of your files and take them with you to a certain extent. Everyone knew about it and it was almost accepted behavior. Today, it's quite different and much more serious. So much more information is available to virtually everyone that, one push of a key, and certainly a well-orchestrated effort can have dramatic consequences and can bring criminal charges. In today's world, intellectual property is a critical asset to every organization and it's the responsibility of every executive to safeguard and maintain their company's intellectual property integrity. Every organization, regardless of size, can be impacted and quite frankly most have been.

Just a thought,

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