Saturday, December 20, 2008

Retail Shrinkage and Ethics

Al Fin--an excellent website that everyone interested in science news, futurism, transhumanism, and the like should read--recently mentioned surveys of student cheating as evidence of declining ethics. I replied that retail shrinkage as a percent of sales over time would be a better measure. This inspired me to see if I could find any data.

I managed to find this document that gives shrinkage rates from 1991 to 2001. They were:

1991 1.79
1992 1.91
1993 1.88
1994 1.95
1995 1.83
1996 1.87
1997 1.77
1998 1.72
1999 no data
2000 1.69
2001 1.80

I then found the rest of the numbers by searching on "National Retail Security Survey" with the appropriate year.

2002 didn't find
2003 1.65
2004 1.54
2005 1.60
2006 1.57
2007 1.40

Take the numbers I searched for by hand with salt, for I found somewhat contradictory information at various sites. At any rate, there doesn't seem to be any strong upward trend in shrinkage over the last couple decades. Of course, shrinkage is going to vary with anti-theft technology and the economy.