September 3, 2009

Sales down, theft up!

There's bad news, and then there's... more bad news. According to an article in WWD, retailers already hard-hit by reduced sales are seeing a wave of theft, both from organized and disorganized criminals. To wit:
A survey released in May by the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which measured the first four months of 2009, found 61 percent of retailers had seen an increase in amateur and opportunistic shoplifting, while 72 percent had seen an increase in organized retail crime.

In a move straight out of a cops-and-robbers movie, one gang has been stealing jewelry from J.C. Penney's locations in Texas and Louisiana by hoisting themselves down from the roof.

But it's not all customers who are doing the thieving. In Chicago, high-end clothing boutique Jake has stiffed 28 designers for sums ranging from $860 to $48,000 by closing down their parent company and opening a new one, while continuing to run the shop itself under the same name.

The designers have collectively filed suit to recover their unpaid money; for smaller designers such as Costello Tagliapietra, the more than $20,000 they are owed represents a significant chunk of their business, while 3.1 Phillip Lim's brand director, Maria Vu, says the suit is also a matter of principle.

Regardless of the outcome, the designers, whose numbers also include Chris Benz, Lutz & Patmos, and Band of Outsiders, are pleased to have banded together created a community where they can discuss the issues facing them collectively as young designers..

Photo via Jason Tester on Flickr.
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