SHOPLIFTERS AREN'T BIGGEST THEFT THREAT
One of every 22 employees was apprehended for theft from their employers, according to an annual retail survey by Jack L. Hayes, International, Fruitland Park, CA. The sticky-finger scourge continued increasing for the seventh consecutive year, both in number apprehended and in dollars recovered.
The number of dishonest employees caught in 2000 was up 10 percent over the year earlier. On an individual basis, dishonest employees steal almost seven times the amount taken by shoplifters—$765 as compared to $114.
WHERE RAISES ARE HEADED
Judging by recent salary negotiations, average employee pay raises for the rest of this year and into next may be between three and four percent. The business analysis Kiplinger Washington Letter forecasts annual salary hikes next year below four percent, the first time in eight years.
FEWER CLICKS, MORE SALES
Selling over the Web, e-tailing, seems to be steadily improving, making it easier for consumers to purchase goods through their browsers. A mystery shopper survey showed that the number of clicks required to checkout with a purchase was 5.78 in April as compared to 8.76 in the fourth quarter last year. Purchases took 7.32 minutes versus 11.7 minutes late last year.
One snag seems to be shipping/delivery charges. Presently some online retailers charge by order value, others by the number of items and some by weight. So many different procedures only serves to confuse shoppers and causes many to abandon a virtual shopping cart, often just short of completing a purchase.
Sears is avoiding the entire hassle by selling online but allowing pickup at a local store without any shipping charges.
SCANNING IN LINE SPEEDS UP CHECKOUT
Customers now will have their items scanned while waiting in the checkout line at 700 Home Depot stores with the technique going system-wide by yearend. The program uses handheld wireless scanners to record customers' purchases before they get to the register.
Kmart earlier this year launched a similar checkout speedup program. During peak periods, workers ring up the customers' purchases while they wait in line and give them cards the cashier can scan and process for payment.
NEW STORES LEAVING BIGGER FOOTPRINTS
Among chain store developers, bigger is definitely better. Store size is on the rise, according to a Chain Store Age census, for the second year in a row. The average store size is inching up in virtually every classification of trade.
The average store opened in the last 12 months has 58,254 square feet, up almost 10 percent from the size of existing units. The enlargement trend is particularly notable among department stores and home centers.
Building costs for all retailers studied average $42 per square foot. Other costs per square foot were: fixtures $8.14, exterior signage $.96, and interior signage $.87.
A $1 million bill would be phony even if you were playing Monopoly, yet one was accepted at the First National Bank of Newport, PA.
Dorothy Livingston, 25, allegedly opened an account at the bank, deposited the $1 million bill at a bank machine and then transferred the money to other accounts. She even managed to withdraw some funds before being detected.
There is no real $1 million bill in U.S. currency. The highest denomination bill ever printed is the $100,000 Gold Certificate, which was never released into general circulation and cannot be legally held by currency note collectors. It features a portrait of President Woodrow Wilson.