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April 3, 2013

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Retailers track employee thefts in vast databases, FTC to examine compliance with Fair Credit Reporting Act  Facing a wave of employee theft, retailers across the country have helped amass vast databases of workers accused of stealing and are using that information to keep employees from working again in the industry. Some of the employees, who submit written statements after being questioned by store security officers, have no idea that they are admitting committing a theft or that the information will remain in databases, according to interviews with consumer lawyers, regulators and employees. The Federal Trade Commission has fielded complaints about the databases and is examining whether they comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, a federal law aimed at curbing inaccurate consumer information and giving consumers more control, said Anthony Rodriguez, a staff lawyer at the agency. LexisNexis agreed last week to pay $13.5 million to settle a class-action suit on behalf of 31,000 people that accused the firm of violating consumer protection laws by selling background checks to debt collectors. The company did not admit wrongdoing. (Source nytimes.com)

Prolonged Winter Puts Retail Sales in Deep Freeze  Abnormally cold weather curbs consumer demand for spring goods and apparel, but some companies, including drug chains and dollar stores, are benefiting from the spring's delay. Consumers were shopping very differently the weeks leading up to Easter this year than they were a year ago. Last year, March was the warmest on record for more than 100 years, said Evan Gold, senior vice president of client services at Planalytics. Interest in lawn and garden items fell 21 percent, delaying the most lucrative season for home improvement stores. (Source cnbc.com)

Toys R Us withdraws aging IPO registration  With sales down 2.6% in 2012 and net income down 68.1% they filed documents with the SEC to withdraw its registration for a proposed initial public offering "due to unfavorable market conditions and the company's recently announced executive leadership transition." (Source internetretailer.com)

J.C. Penney's home revamp is make or break for CEO Johnson  Poised to open the first of its new home goods boutiques on April 5, a launch that Johnson himself has called "pivotal" to his efforts to revive Penney. Penney's new home goods section is to appear at 500 of its 1,100 stores. Other launch brands set for April include coffee-press maker Bodum. A legal dispute with rival Macy's Inc means it will, for now, only sell some of the goods that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc had originally planned for Penney. Her line will be called MarthaCelebrations and include greeting cards. (Source chicagotribune.com)

78% of pirated software has spyware attached and about 33% of software is counterfeit  The International Data Corporation (IDC) has released a new white paper -- commissioned by Microsoft -- that focuses on counterfeit and pirated software use. The paper said the malware market will reach $114 billion this year thanks to counterfeit software. In addition, consumers will waste about 1.5 billion hours dealing with this malware. Mobile devices may be even harder to manage — and keep secure — in enterprise settings than PCs. (Source dailytech.com)

Lilly warehouse thieves had security report, lawsuit says  A federal lawsuit alleges that thieves who broke into an Eli Lilly and Co. warehouse in Connecticut three years ago and stole more than $60 million worth of drugs obtained a copy of a report that revealed weaknesses in the building's security system. Eli Lilly insurer National Union Fire Insurance Co. sued ADT Security Services this month in federal court in Connecticut. ADT had created a report before the March 2010 break-in detailing weaknesses in the warehouse's security system, The Indianapolis Star reported. The suit says the security report allowed two brothers indicted in the theft to know the warehouse's placement of every security camera, motion detector and glass-break sensor. The lawsuit does not speculate on how the thieves obtained the security report or provide any proof they had it. (Source ibj.com)

Three stores shut down for selling counterfeit merchandise in Passaic, NJ 
Raided were Slam City, located at 4 Lexington Ave., Paula’s a clothing outlet located next door, and the Quisquera Travel Agency at 611 Main Ave. Sheriff Richard Berdnik issued a statement and said the items seized contained bogus designer labels such as Coach, Louis Vuitton, and Channel. The probe was a joint effort between the sheriff’s department and a security company hired by the labels to protect their products. (Source northjersey.com)

Police Warn of Armed Robberies at Cellphone Stores in Chicago  Police warned businesses of two recent robberies at cellphone stores in Pilsen and Ukrainian Village. (Source dnainfo.com)

Suspect in St. Petersburg Family Dollar Store robbery that led to fatal crash arrested.  A man suspected in a fatal crash that followed a chase after an armed robbery at a Family Dollar store last month has been arrested. He faces charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, second-degree murder and aggravated fleeing and eluding a police officer. According to police, Mackey and Dijon Senay Jackson robbed the Family Dollar Store and fled in a vehicle. As they were pursued, the vehicle crashed into a tree, killing Jackson and sending Mackey to the hospital. (Source patch.com)

UPDATE: Norfolk Police will not charge a Sheriff's Deputy who left his gun in a Macy’s fitting room at Military Circle Mall Monday. Norfolk Police will not press charges against a deputy who left his gun inside a dressing room at The Gallery at Military Circle Monday afternoon. Tuesday, the owner of the gun contacted Macy's as soon as he realized it was missing. The gun was legally owned. Paula Miller with the Norfolk Sheriff's Office said the gun was registered to a deputy. (Source wavy.com)

New Bedford man arrested in break-in at Savers.  Police arrested a city man Monday night on felony breaking and entering charges at the Savers thrift store. Julio Teixeira was charged with breaking and entering in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony, resisting arrest and malicious destruction of property. Officers saw a white Ford van parked near the building and a man, Teixeira, inside the fenced-in area by the loading dock while the store was closed. Inside the van, police found several televisions and a computer monitor that was taken from the business. (Source turnto10.com)

Robber hits Sally Beauty store in Edwardsville, IL.  Police are searching for an armed robber who entered a local beauty supply store Monday and escaped with a bank deposit bag. The incident occurred at 11:43 a.m. at Sally Beauty Supply. Edwardsville Police Department would be working Tuesday with a sketch artist from the Illinois State Police to develop a drawing of the suspect. The department was checking surveillance cameras in the area to determine whether any of them captured images of the gunman. No shots were fired and no injuries were reported in the incident. (Source yahoo.com)

Suspicious package evacuates Midland Park Mall yesterday.  Tuesday at 4:15 pm the Midland police Explosives Unit cleared the Midland Mall due to backpack that was found outside the Ross store. After an investigative search by the explosives rover, the backpack was deemed safe. Police would not say what was inside the backpack. (Source cbs7kosa.com)

Two stores burglarized in Greenville by smashing out the walls of connecting vacant store.  Police are investigating the burglary of 4Rooms furniture store and Muse Shoe Studio in the Augusta Commons in Greenville, NC. Police say the damage to the stores is over $700 and over $2000 of cash and merchandise was stolen. Thieves also broke into a uniform store in the same plaza, but pried open the front door and only got away with a few rolls of quarters. (Source foxcarolina.com)

Suspect at Lowe’s in Ocala gets a $2000 refund for someone else’s refrigerator. 
A customer awaiting the delivery of her new refrigerator from Lowe’s contacted the store and was told that she had received a full refund for the $2097.84 items two days prior. The victim told the store she had no knowledge of any refund. Loss Prevention investigated the refund and found that an unidentified woman used the victim's name and a Georgia's driver's license to complete the transaction. The suspect was given two store credit cards, one for $2,000 and one for $97.84. (Source ocala.com)

Shoplifting suspect found dead in Hernando County, Florida jail; apparent suicide.  Jesse Beaman was arrested last week for pushing a cart load of $526 in merchandise out of a Walmart store in Brookville, Florida. Beaman had several prior arrests in the county for theft and was being held until his arraignment date of April 16. (Source tampabay.com)



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Op/Ed
 

Networking at Industry Conferences – Part III


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

Last week, Kevin Plante had an excellent article on professional networking, its importance, and what makes for effective networking. In this week’s column, I’d like to build on the points he makes in the series we have been doing about taking best advantage of industry trade-shows and seminars. Previous articles have included “The Value of Industry Conferences” and “Maximizing Educational Benefits at Conferences.” This week we will discuss how to get the most out of networking at conferences.

What is Networking?

“Networking” is a term that get used, abused, and confused throughout the business community. Some see it as “being slick” or simply collecting the business cards at a conference or something as simple as sending a boiler-plate message on Linkedin to “connect” with another professional. None of those practices constitute useful, professional networking – at least not in my experience.

Productive networking occurs when you make a connection that you build on over the course of time until such point that the “connection” becomes a “relationship.” This does not necessarily mean a close personal friendship. But, relationship suggests that there are shared reference points, a level of trust, and a willingness to help each other.

I’ll be the first to admit that I look forward to industry conferences. At some of the larger shows, I might know 200+ other attendees by name and have fairly strong relationships with 50-75 of them. So, for me, going to a show is a great chance to catch up with my network, find out what new ideas or activities they have going on in their business, and ask for their input on issues that are on my plate. But, the reason I know all of these people is because I’ve been going to shows for over 20 years and I have cultivated these relationships over a long period of time.

The Value of a Network

This article is clearly going to advocate for becoming better at networking. Why? Because the benefits it will bring to you and your organization over the course of time can be invaluable. Notice, I included “your organization” in that statement. Many times, we think of networking in terms of what it can do for “me.” And, certainly, if, for some reason, you were in search of a new position or opportunity, a strong network can help you. That, by itself, might be a good enough reason to finish reading this piece.

However, it is clear that your organization can benefit from your networking, as well. Over the years, there have been too many times to count where I was faced with an issue at work where we were struggling to find answers and, by simply making a few phone calls, I was able to benefit from the experience of several other individuals and organizations which had dealt with a similar situation and found the appropriate solution. How many weeks of trial and error, how many adverse outcomes/results might have been experienced, and how much unnecessary expense might have been incurred by my company otherwise?

Tips for Networking at Industry Conferences

Even if you accept the notion that networking is a good thing for both you and your company, there is still the difficulty, for most of us, in actually building those links. Some might say, “Oh, it is easy for you, Walter, because you are an extrovert and enjoy this kind of stuff!” While some of that is true, it can still be intimidating for anyone to network and this is why I want to give you some specific tips for how you might consciously work on this at an upcoming show.

Introduce Yourself to Others at Your Table. While waiting for a session to start, take a few minutes to introduce yourself to the others at your table. All it takes is for one person to start the process and you’ll find that everyone follows suit. There are lifelong connections I have made in my career that germinated by a simple introduction at a seminar session.

Go to the New Attendees Orientation. If the conference has a welcome reception for first-time attendees, go to it. First of all, you know you will share one thing in common with everyone in the room. Second, you will know that they are all as nervous as you. And, third, you will look like a professional with great poise if you initiate introductions and break the ice. Plus, there will be several experienced individuals in the room from the trade association and, probably, some representatives from their advisory council. Meet them and you have a gateway to many other introductions.

Attend round-table session. These sessions, by their very nature, provide greater opportunity to speak with the other participants, hear what is on their minds, and solicit their input. I rarely attend a round-table session where there is not an exchange of business cards among participants.

Ask a Trusted Vendor to Make Introductions. If you work with a vendor partner who you trust and who is attending the show, ask them to introduce you to other practitioners they trust. Most conferences feature an exhibit hall environment and this is an easy way to make several connections an hour and start with at least some common frame of reference.

Step Away from Your Comfort Zone. If you are attending a conference with several other people from your organization, there is a natural tendency to hang out with these folks at every session, at every reception, and at every dinner. However, if you never step away from the group, you may never meet anyone else. As a group, plan some time to leave “home base” and meet some others.

Leverage Your Co-workers and Friends. On the other hand, attending a conference with several people you know also represents an opportunity. Ask your co-workers to introduce you to some of their contacts or professionals they have worked with at other companies. The combination of your relationship to the one party and their shared history makes it easy to find common ground to discuss.

If you will have the courage to act on some of the above recommendations, you will be on your way to building a real professional network. This is not to say you will walk away from one conference with strong relationships with each of these people, but you will have a base to build upon. Remember, the best relationships are those that are built on over the course of time.

Good luck and I look forward to meeting you soon!


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
 
Barney's store in SoHo, NYC, gets hit for thousands by two men yesterday, similar incidents increasing  The thieves walked into the store on Wooster Street at about 1:30 p.m., and one suspect distracted a worker while the other stuffed clothing and handbags into bags they had with them, police said. The two then ran out the door. Police are investigating whether the incident is connected to a pattern of similar thefts in the busy shopping area. (Source nbcnews.com)

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Press Release
 
ALL-TAG, the second largest global producer of RF Labels, announced that the company plans to hire more production workers and add additional RF Label production equipment to its factory in Boca Raton, Florida. The additional personnel and equipment will help meet the growing demand for their RF Labels used by retailers, as well as retail product manufacturers and packagers for source-tagging. ALL-TAG brought manufacturing to the U.S. facility in 2011, and they are proud to be supplying products made by American workers. While other EAS manufacturers have moved production overseas, we are committed to providing more jobs to hardworking Americans.

ALL-TAG also designs and produces a wide variety of sensor tags for apparel and other soft goods that are compatible with both Sensormatic and Checkpoint EAS Detection Systems and Security Tag Detachers.

For more information about products mentioned in this release, please visit http://www.ALL-TAG.com.

Contact:
Andy Gilbert
ALL-TAG
(561) 998-9983 x12
a.gilbert@all-tag.com
 

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Competition is a good thing because it's what has made America so strong. Whether it's competition between companies or between executives, it has a tendency to bring out the best in most people and in most organizations. It leads to innovation, invention, growth and it instills a sense of competition in everything we do that tends to motivate and challenge people to reach beyond their own self-definitions of what they can do or can't do. Without it, progress, which is slow to begin with, would be stifled but, with it, you have inspiration and purpose. The whole key is how you compete in the open market, whether as a company or as an executive, reflecting professional standards and a code of ethics is critical even when your competition isn't. The #1 rule should always be never speak ill of the competition because in actuality it's more of a reflection of who you are and not who they are.

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