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June 30, 2011

Loss Prevention & Safety Recruiters Since 1983


Our Mission--To Educate, Inform, and Instill a Sense of Community
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July 8, 2011:
Doug Marker
Vice President
LP, Risk and Audit
Michael Stores, Inc.

Stephen O'Keefe
Loss Prevention and Risk Management,
Wal-Mart Canada

LP Program Spotlight
eBay's PROACT Team

Know about an event we should feature here? Let us know.

Women in LP Caucus
Mentor Program
Register Here

August 7-10, 2011
National Food Service Security Council
32nd Annual Meeting

Hyatt Grand Champion
Indian Wells, CA

October 4-6, 2011

CLEAR/Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail
2nd Annual Training Conference
Peppermill Resort/Casino
Reno, NV




To mark the World Anti-Counterfeit Day this past June 8, authorities from the Intellectual Property Office Philippines destroyed all of the counterfeit goods they've seized this year, valued at $39.4 million.  (Source Associated Press)

Over the next decade, the number of servers managing the world's data will grow tenfold.  The amount of data we create as people are miniscule compared to the amount of data being created about us.  Overall, data will grow 50 times by 2020 and data security will continue to be a key issue and there won't be enough IT security executives to meet the demand.  (Source

The new generation of fakes are more convincing and are a far cry from cheap knockoffs of yesteryear which enables vendors to set up legitimate-looking e-commerce sites with full product descriptions as well as marketing images and logos that look like those websites selling the real stuff.  In 2001, there were about 3,100 seizures by U.S. Customs rising to 20,000 seizures last year.  At $600 billion, the counterfeit industry is projected to double by 2015 and hit $1.2 trillion.   (Source

The "most cold-blooded robbery-homicide in Suffolk County history" where on Father's Day a man went into Haven Drug Store in Long Island, NY, and shot and killed two drug store employees and two customers for a backpack of painkillers for his wife who lived a mile and a half away, will be pleading not guilty today in court even though the entire incident was captured on video.  (Source Associated Press)

Government regulators say Massey Energy pressured workers at a West Virginia coal mine where an explosion killed 29 men to omit safety problems from official reports for the government while the company kept another set of books for itself.  Workers told Mine Safety and Health Administration investigators the two sets of books were kept because the company wanted to avoid scrutiny from inspectors and keep coal production running smoothly.  (Source Associated Press) is shutting down California since the state passed a law to collect sales tax there.  (Source Associated Press)

Barnes & Noble's smart aggressive strategy of banking on their award winning Nook has gotten them a 26% e-book market share and showing that their focus on the "Grandma" reader is paying off.  They were the first to roll out super stores, put coffee shops in its stores, offer authors self-publishing rights, publish its own titles, and one of the first to discount bestsellers.  Now they're looking for shorter leases on over 100 stores up for renewal.  It may be an uncertain future in that industry, but Barnes & Noble is clearly moving bravely.  (Source

Business to business e-commerce platform in China helped lead police to arrest 36 suspects for operating scams on their site that netted $6.6 million from customers while not shipping the purchased goods or shipping lower quality goods.  In February, the company revealed that 2,326 suppliers on the site had engaged in scams against overseas buyers from 2009 to 2010. The fraud was so extensive that 100 sales people along with several supervisors and sales managers were found responsible for allowing the crimes to evade detection.   (Source

The FBI raided an Ohio home yesterday for one of the infamous LulzSec hacking members with the nic m_nerva, a teenager.  The heat was on when Lulez said last weekend that it was disbanding and it certainly doesn't mean the FBI will quit looking for you.  Another 19 year-old member was arrested earlier this week in the UK.   (Source

ORC ring leader charged yesterday for running a Midwest ring of suspects who used fake drivers licenses and credit cards to steal more than $654,000 worth of merchandise from Sam's Club stores and sell the merchandise on the internet.  (Source

Two Director of Loss Prevention positions to be named within the next week.

A massive new super-botnet, that has infected more than 4 million PCs is "practically indestructible," named TDL-4 is out there and is "extremely tough to detect, delete, suppress or eradicate."  It's invisible to the operating system and the anti-virus software.  The FBI is on it.  (Source


Shrinkage On The Rise
Dr. Hollinger's preliminary NRSS findings

Retail shrinkage increased to 1.58% of retail sales in 2010 ($37.1B) -- up from 1.44% in 2009 ($33.5B)
95% of retailers have been a victim of ORC over the last 12 months
43.7% of retail shrinkage in 2010 was employee theft ($16.2B)
18.7% of cases involved collusion between internal and external sources
32.6% of total losses was shoplifting ($12.1B)
12.9% of shrinkage was admin error ($4.8B)
5.4% shrinkage was vendor fraud ($2B)

46% of retailers said their loss prevention budgets were increasing
 and 35% said they were staying the same



Gary Johnson, Vice President, Loss Prevention for The Vitamin Shoppe & newly appointed Chairperson for the National Retail Federations LP Advisory Council

                     His background, his commitment, his mission

Graduating from Western Illinois University with a BS Degree in Law Enforcement Administration, Gary embarked on his career as Osco Drug's first ever LP intern. The internship exposed Gary to the world of LP and after hiring on, he advanced quickly. He soon covered 31 stores as the LP Coordinator in Chicago where he learned and excelled at the fundamentals.

Understanding the value of flexibility and sacrifice at an early age, Gary joined Ivey's Department Stores as a Corporate Investigator just 20 months after starting his career. With a packed U-Haul and youthful enthusiasm, Gary continued his journey and gained invaluable experience in understanding how to deliver Loss Prevention tactics in a completely different retail sector; the Department Store.

In 1987, Gary once again relocated. This time to Fort Worth, Texas, where he joined Pier 1 Imports as a Loss Prevention District Manager and began his Specialty Store career. Operating out of the Corporate office and covering 160 stores, Gary spent the next 3 years developing his skills and expanding his business knowledge while gaining corporate exposure that helped define his interpersonal skills and leadership abilities. Working in an autonomous environment and being given Corporate responsibilities in 1990, Gary was promoted to Senior LP District Manager where his span of influence grew tremendously; he helped manage three LPDM's, developed and managed the company's check collections program, supported six distribution centers, helped develop the DC's drug screening program, and worked on special projects, all this while still coordinating the LP support for his original 160 stores.

In six years, Gary's career had grown from LP intern to having Corporate and Field responsibilities that would challenge even the most seasoned managers. Gary credits his experiences at Pier 1 as critical to strengthening his core competencies of time management, developing-managing-and-leading cross-functional relationships and partners, learning how and when to compromise, being a team player, and understanding the importance of aligning the loss prevention needs with the company goals.

In 1991, Gary took on a challenge (and another relocation) that most wouldn't have done. He moved to New York City, his 3rd relocation in six years and his first Directorship at Barnes & Noble Bookstores. His willingness to sacrifice, move, and totally commit himself to his career paid off early on and he's never looked back.
Gary entered the Bookselling industry when the format was typically mall-based. While Barnes & Noble had its own brand, the portfolio was anchored by about 700 Dalton Bookseller stores. Over the next 13½ years, he helped give birth to and participate in the industry's evolution to Superstores. Reengineering Loss Prevention deliverables during this huge transition, without the benefit of existing models to benchmark, Gary developed one of the first shared services LP models in the industry with mall-based specialty stores and superstores combined.
During this challenging and exciting time, Barnes & Noble opened over 400 superstores. Gary built an LP program that, at its core, was all about hiring and developing a team comprised of the absolute best LP executives. To bring it all together, Gary sought candidates that matched his vision, had outstanding LP core competencies, and solid retail business acumen. Their search efforts were exhaustive and Gary didn't hesitate to hire highly talented people, some former Directors, to ensure high-quality and innovative LP services would be delivered to the stores. New technologies were explored and Gary was one of the first to successfully introduce split frequency EAS systems in the retail industry.
Stepping into a brand new world in 2005, Gary joined A&P Grocery stores as their Vice President of Asset Protection. Like others in the Grocery sector, A&P's program followed an "old school" model and Gary was hired to transform the approach to a more modern and progressive one. However, Gary's mission was cut short when Vitamin Shoppe's CEO (and former President of Barnes & Noble Superstores) recruited him as their first VP of Loss Prevention.
Vitamin Shoppe has grown from 177 stores when he joined to its present 505 stores and Gary has once again transformed the LP Program and instituted "a culture of honesty" philosophy that is based on transparency and active participation of all associates. Vitamin Shoppe's strength is in the associates' knowledge and engagement with customers. That holds true for LP as well and Gary's focus has been to develop an LP program that is truly in lock-step with the company values, mission and Critical Success Factors. This focus on people, training, and in-store execution are working as Gary and his team have reduced shrinkage year over year and this past year posted record shrink results.

Gary's history with the NRF goes back many years to when he gave his very first presentation. In 1997, he co-presented with Max Arenas, Cato's Vice President of LP, "Deterrents in a Specialty Store Environment." In 2000, he was named to the LP Advisory Council and he chaired the newly created Awards & Recognition Committee from 2004-2008. In 2008, Gary was named Vice Chair of the Council and has served on the Conference Planning committee, the Regional Investigator Network committee, and the Awards & Recognition committee. With Bill Titus's term as Chairperson expiring, Gary was recently selected to assume the Chair. His term began at the closing of this year’s highly successful NRF LP Conference.

Having served on the Council alongside Bill, Gary appreciates Bill's mentorship and guidance, and is committed to maintaining the Advisory Council's momentum on several key initiatives. Gary fully understands and humbly accepts this new challenge. Given Gary's track record of involvement, it comes as no surprise that his mantra will be one of inclusion and participation. The NRF offers tremendous opportunities for people to learn and get involved in their Industry. Gary believes this participation is paramount to success -- for the Industry, for Retailers, and most importantly to the individual LP executives.

Our Industry will be facing new demands, challenges, and changing skill-sets. Gary's advice is simple -- "LP is not a spectator sport! Get involved. Invest in your career, commit to your Profession, and be sure to give something back."
For the next two years, Gary will be leading the way and we wish him the best of luck.


This article sponsored by
Alpha High-Theft Solutions


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Competition is a good thing because it's what has made America so strong.  Whether it's competition between companies or between executives, it has a tendency to bring out the best in most people and in most organizations.  It leads to innovation, invention, growth and it instills a sense of competition in everything we do that tends to motivate and challenge people to reach beyond their own self-definitions of what they can do or can't do.  Without it, progress, which is slow to begin with, would be stifled but, with it, you have inspiration and purpose.  The whole key is how you compete in the open market, whether as a company or as an executive, reflecting professional standards and a code of ethics is critical even when your competition isn't.  The #1 rule should always be never speak ill of the competition because in actuality it's more of a reflection of who you are and not who they are.

Good luck,
Gus Downing

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