A Humanistic Approach to Retail Shoplifting

Ashida, Gay
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Hawaii at Manoa
The field of retailing is plagued by many problems, one of which is shoplifting--the fastest growing crime in the United States today. This problem is a major concern to retailers because it produces shortages that hurt the retailer and inevitably, the consumer. The significance of stock shortages can be illustrated in reference to large department stores. In 1964 net earnings from merchandising operations amounted to 6.27% of sales. Stock shortages amounted to 1.4% of sales or approximately one-fourth of the net profits. There are two types of shortages: 1) physical loss of goods and 2) clerical errors in the calculation of the book inventory or in the count of the physical inventory. Shortages are caused by theft, by breakages, by disappearances, and by giving the customer more goods than those paid for. There is no way to determine how much of the physical loss can be attributed to each of these factors. But it is estimated that theft accounts for about half of the shortage figure. Theft involves three groups: 1) professional thieves, 2) the amateurs who have a compulsion to take merchandise without paying for it, and 3) employees who pilfer. This study concentrates on the second group; the amateurs who steal on impulse. In discussing the subject of shoplifting, several terms need to be defined for purposes of this study. The following definitions will serve as a frame of reference for this study. These terms will be categorized into general terms and specific terms according to their usage by the author.
Access Rights
Email libraryada-l@lists.hawaii.edu if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.