Fudging the numbers on shoplifting

The mid-2023 stories about retail theft, in spite of videos of 20 or 30 people swarming stores to overwhelm attempts to detain them, always felt off to me.

Other crime statistics don't match up, and statistics from industry groups are a little loose with definitions and also don't make sense. You can't say something is up 50% and then say your overall shrink is only a smidge higher.

This article seems to bear this out. I think we'll see *real* numbers when the 10-Ks come out and the audited inventory numbers show us what's what.


I'm torn though - if stores are "lying" about their shrink numbers, is that a bullish or bearish sign? If it's just cover to make other ROIC-increasing moves, then that's good. If they are being run poorly and running up losses that aren't actually due to theft, that's bad.

As always, YMMV.