By Bob Johns
June 2013 Integrated Solutions For Retailers
The luxury retailer leverages improved visibility and access with IP surveillance cameras to combat internal and external shrink.
Like most major retailers, Saks Fifth Avenue was facing increasing pressure from both external and internal shrink. According to Patrick McEvoy, senior manager, asset protection systems (AP) and technology, “From an external side, there has been a large increase in grab-and-run thefts and ORC (organized retail crime)-related groups that target the goods we sell. From an internal side, we continue to see theft happening at our register areas and in our back office.” In order to remain competitive in the slimmargin world of retail, McEvoy needed better weapons.
Saks Fifth Avenue is a $3.1 billion omni-channel luxury retailer with 42 full-line Sakes Fifth Avenue and 66 Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH outlet stores. The nearly 90-year-old company employs nearly 14,000 people and is headquartered in New York. It also has a robust online presence which currently enjoys doubledigit growth. However, theft can stifle any growth within a retail organization. “The challenges in both the level of theft as well as our capabilities to identify and investigate it resulted in loss of money and time,” McEvoy notes. The company was using older analog cameras within its stores to help fight theft, but the current system was lacking resolution, and visibility into each store and was difficult to use. “We were restricted in our capabilities to monitor all of the areas we needed, such as highdollar- value displays and areas not easily covered by associates, due to low-resolution images and lengthy reviews of recorded video,” he says. “When you are stuck reviewing hours of video, it keeps you from being able to complete other areas of your job. It was difficult or impossible to view video remotely, so a ton of travel was involved for investigations. Or, you had to wait for a DVD copy of the incident to arrive from the store.”