What Is Shrink Control?

by Kelly Wall; Updated September 26, 2017
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Shrink is a term used in retail to describe theft and inventory losses. This includes losses resulting from associate theft, shoplifting, paperwork errors and even damaged merchandise. With millions of dollars lost each year to these incidents, companies have created a variety of ways to prevent and reduce shrink, otherwise known as shrink control.

Audits and Inventories

Large retail corporations tend to perform audits and inventory counts throughout the year. Inventory counts tally how much merchandise has been lost from the sales floor, even if it doesn’t pinpoint how the theft occurred. Audits, however, can help identify associate theft. During an audit, employees performing incorrect procedures can be identified, as well as any improper paperwork and missing money. Companies perform audits and inventories at different intervals, depending on the needs of the corporation or store.

Shrink Committees

Some retail stores have shrink committees, where groups of associates work together to identify shrink issues in a store and implement procedures to help deal with them. These committees work to prevent dangers like ticket switching and think of new ways to attach security devices to merchandise. Shrink committees also are responsible for teaching other associates about shrink control and how each individual can help reduce shrink.

Loss Prevention

Chain stores usually have some sort of security or loss prevention team in place to help deal with shrink. These are teams of detectives and investigators who track shoplifters and help associates prevent theft. Loss prevention coordinates with local police departments at times, along with working with store associates.

Security Devices

There are a variety of electronic article surveillance tags available to help control shrink. These commonly are found on articles of clothing and accessories in shops. They will usually trigger some sort of alarm if you attempt to leave with one of the EAS tags still attached. There are also ink tags, which will spread ink over an item during an attempt to remove it. Some boxed products may have security sensors that appear to be bar codes, but actually set off the door sensors. Other products will be caged in a security case to prevent tampering or theft. All of these devices are a part of shrink control.

About the Author

Kelly Wall has been writing news articles since 2007. Her work has been published in "The Informer." She graduated from the University of Hartford in December 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and minors in communications and Spanish.

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