The National Retail Federation (NRF), a major lobbying group for US retailers, has retracted its earlier assertion that “organized retail crime” contributed to nearly half of all inventory losses in 2021. The organization confirmed on Tuesday that it had removed the statement from its April report on organized retail crime after discovering inaccuracies in the data used for the analysis.
Collaborating with private security firm K2 Integrity, the NRF’s research, which was edited in late November, had initially claimed that “nearly half” of the reported $94.5 billion in inventory losses by retailers in 2021 could be attributed to organized retail crime. This term refers to coordinated groups of thieves engaging in activities such as shoplifting, stealing from warehouses, and reselling stolen goods on the black market.
The NRF’s assertion had been widely cited in various media reports, and the organization had utilized this data to advocate for new legislation. The proposed laws aim to broaden the definition of offenses classified as “organized” crime and increase potential penalties. The NRF has consistently highlighted the rising rates of organized retail crime in its calls for Congressional action.
According to NRF spokesperson Danielle Inman, the retracted claim was based on two-year-old testimony from Ben Dugan, the former president of the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail. In 2021, Dugan informed a U.S. Senate committee that organized retail crime caused an estimated $45 billion in annual losses for retailers, as per the coalition’s estimates.
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