Despite disparate views in the industry about what is meant by the term 'shrinkage', with many retailers defining and recording the problem in different ways, there have been no shortage of brave researchers investing time to try and quantify the scale and nature of the problem, including the ECR Group!
The ECR Group has undertaken two surveys of European retailers, with the second version being reported in 2004. It focussed on asking retailers to share their shrinkage results, their responses to a number of questions on collaboration and the extent to which they innovate to deal with the problem of loss. Other shrinkage surveys which have tried to capture similar data in Europe include the Checkpoint Global Theft Barometer.
These studies, and the longstanding NRSS study in USA, all follow a similar methodology: relying on unclear terminology, flawed data and personal opinion, all of which have been found to be less than helpful to retailers looking for meaningful and reliable benchmark data. Based upon these concerns, the ECR Group, in collaboration with RILA, sponsored the research work on Total Retail Loss, which can be found elsewhere on this website.