STORES Magazine - October 2008 - (Page 96)

INSIDE TRACK Compiled by Anastasia Van Engelen NRFnews Online Auctions Drawing Amateurs into ORC NRF TOLD a congressional committee last month that online auction sites are no longer just a convenient new fencing option for professional shoplifters, but have begun to lure amateurs into the growing world of organized retail crime. Vice president for loss prevention Joe LaRocca testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security during a hearing on three ORC bills. The Organized Retail Crime Act would Joe LaRocca talks with Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. & WHO WHAT WHEN make ORC a federal crime; the Combating Organized Retail Crime Act would require tougher sentences; and the E-Fencing Enforcement Act would focus on online fencing of stolen goods. “The Internet seems to be contributing to the creation of a brand new type of retail thief – people who have never stolen before but are lured in by the convenience and anonymity of the Internet,” LaRocca told the panel. Some criminals say they started off selling items legitimately, got hooked on easy profits and began stealing in order to have a supply of merchandise, he said. Thieves find they can receive up to 70 percent of an item’s retail value online (compared with 30 percent on a street corner or in a pawn shop) and face a lower risk of getting caught. Experts say ORC costs retailers as much as $30 billion annually. NRF is leading retailers’ fight against ORC by operating the Investigator’s Network of more than 1,200 retail loss prevention professionals and playing a key role in the creation of the Law Enforcement Retail Partnership Network (LERPnet) database of ORC information. percent of online retailers said they feel the online channel is better suited to withstand an economic slowdown than offline channels. “Internet retailers have good reason for optimism as budget-foSucharita cused shoppers head to the web Mulpuru for value and convenience,” said Scott Silverman, executive director of “Online retailers are well-positioned to make the best of a potentially lean holiday season.” This optimistic outlook is driven primarily by past results. According to the report, 81 percent of online retailers said that their e-commerce business was profitable in 2007, and 75 percent were more profitable last year than they were in 2006. In presenting the report, Forrester Research retail analyst Sucharita Mulpuru advised that online retailers must continue to execute well to capture possible sales; streamline customer service across the online, catalog and instore channels; and develop practical, quantifiable goals and incentives to motivate employees to promote sales across all channels. NRF Forecasts Modest Holiday Sales Gains THE National Retail Federation is forecasting that sales for the 2008 holiday shopping season will increase 2.2 percent, to $470.4 billion. NRF defines holiday sales as retail industry sales during the months of November and December. It takes into account most retailers (including discounters, department, grocery and specialty stores) but excludes sales at automotive dealers and gas stations. The forecasted holiday sales gain is half the 10-year average and would represent the slowest rate of growth since 2002, when holiday sales rose 1.3 percent. NRF chief economist Rosalind Wells attributes the forecast to a number of economic indicators that point to a challenging holiday season, including a struggling housing market, rising unemployment, meager income gains, high food and fuel costs and the recent financial crises. “Current financial pressures and a lack of confidence in the economy will force shoppers to be very conservative with their holiday spending,” Wells says. “We expect consumers to be frugal this season and less willing to splurge on discretionary items.” Given the ongoing impact that the current financial industry crises are expected to have on consumer confidence, NRF does not anticipate an economic turnaround until next summer. WWW.STORES.ORG Online Retailers Optimistic THE 11TH annual study, The State of Retailing Online 2008: Profitability, Economy, and Multichannel Report, reveals that despite a rough economy, the majority of online retailers are carefully optimistic about how their businesses will perform during the next year. In the report, conducted by Forrester Research and released during’s Annual Summit in Las Vegas, 72 96 STORES / OCTOBER 2008 http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - October 2008

STORES Magazine - October 2008
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Force of a Different Collar
What Shoppers Think
Bagging the Competition
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Favorite 50
Sticky Strategies for Retention
Business Intelligence
NRFtech Wrap-up
Warehouse Systems
Selling Tools
Supply Chain
LOEB Retail Letter
Arts Update
Point of View
NRF News
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
Last Laugh

STORES Magazine - October 2008