Retailers, FBI strengthen fight against retail crime

Filed under: Retail |

Billions of dollars of merchandise are stolen every year through organized retail crime, but a Web-based database launched this week will allow retailers to share information to help fight organized theft, burglaries, robberies, counterfeiting and online auction fraud.

The Law Enforcement Retail Partnership Network, or LERPnet, was created by the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The project began two years ago.

According to NRF’s 2006 Organized Retail Crime survey, 81 percent of retailers said they have been a victim of organized retail crime. Nearly half (48 percent) of those polled also had seen an increase in organized retail crime activity in their stores.

Under the current system, organized retail thefts are reported to local police departments.

Law enforcement agencies in different jurisdictions often do not know about similar incidents that happen in the same area. If a pattern is recognized, it is often after the thieves have sold the items to a fence or on an online auction site.

With LERPnet, companies can report the theft and include information about suspects, getaway vehicles and identification numbers of stolen products.

Retailers also can include photos and video footage to help with the detention and prosecution of suspects.

The system also allows retailers to be notified by e-mail about retail crimes in their areas, search through reported incidents or flag and monitor the sale of merchandise available on online auction sites.

More information is available at www.lerpnet.com.

Federated invests in direct-to-consumer businesses

Federated Department Stores Inc. plans to invest about $100 million during the next two years to support growth in its direct-to-consumer businesses, which include macys.com, bloomingdales.com, Bloomingdale’s By Mail, macysweddingchannel.com and bloomingdalesweddingchannel.com.

The amount is incorporated in Federated’s total capital spending plans, which include $1.2 billion in 2007 and $1.1 billion in 2008.

The company plans to build a 600,000-square-foot distribution center in Goodyear, Ariz., as the West Coast shipping point for Macys.com. Construction will begin this spring and is scheduled to be completed in a year.

These capital expenditures do not include a new 600,000-square-foot distribution center near Portland, Tenn., scheduled to open this month.

Included in the 2007-08 capital plan are an expansion of the direct-to-consumer warehouse management system, improvements to the order management system and enhancements to the macys.com Web site to support projected increases in customer traffic.

Federated has $27 billion in sales in fiscal 2006 and operates more than 850 department stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico under the names of Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.

Wendy’s announces sales increase of 3.8%

Wendy’s International Inc. has reported 10 consecutive months of positive same-store sales.

Sales at U.S. company restaurants increased 3.8 percent during the first quarter ending April 1, while sales at U.S. franchise restaurants increased 3.7 percent.

First quarter franchise growth

There were 87 new franchise concepts launched during the first quarter this year, nearly twice as many as were identified during the same period last year.

The information is included in a report from the franchise industry tracking organization FRANdata.

FRANdata also estimates that of the 2,600 franchise brands actively operating, more than half can be characterized as “young,” meaning that they’ve been franchising for less than 10 years.

For suppliers trying to market to franchisers, this might be good news.

FRANdata says younger systems have more needs and fewer preferred vendor relationships.

The first quarter report identified new franchises in 57 sectors, including coffee, tea, pizza and fitness or amusement centers.

Free e-Book offers tips to boost profits

An e-book that offers tips about boosting business profits has hit the Internet.

Free copies of “Shocking Truth to Retail Store Success,” by Jerry Robertson can be downloaded at www.jrobconsult.com.

Robertson identifies what he calls the “Sterna Principle,” which represents six behaviors that all good businesses should incorporate.

Each year, 100,000 U.S. retailers go out of business, Robertson said. And while many of the closures are because of retirement, most are because of poor performance.

The book is designed to help combat the failure rate among store owners.

In addition to serving as a lifeline to struggling retail store owners, the e-book is intended to helping independent store owners compete against the big box retailers.

Joan Johnson covers retail for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.