Magazine Article | January 23, 2014

Stein Mart Masters Returns Management

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies
Matt Pillar

By Matt Pillar, chief editor

February 2014 Integrated Solutions For Retailers

After a major returns fraud bout with an ORC ring, Stein Mart put data and analytics behind its returns policies and reduced its shrink rate to less than one percent of sales.

Tis the season for retail returns, and with those returns come fraud, loss, and inefficiency. While the post-holiday months are a particularly stressful time for retail service desks, offprice fashion retailer Stein Mart learned firsthand that returns fraud can hit — and hit hard — at any time of the year.

Not long ago, its Dallas-area stores were victimized by an organized retail crime (ORC) ring that falsified receipts and used them to bilk the company to the tune of $40,000 in fraudulent returns. Old-fashioned investigative work by its LP team uncovered the loss, prompting concerns that similar activity was taking place elsewhere across the retailer’s network of more than 260 stores.