ECR Retail Loss

Enabling the Retail Sector to Sell More and Lose Less

Managing Losses on Fresh Meat: Latest Practices.

Our working group met recently to swap notes on managing the problem of unknown losses in the fresh meat category. Here are the key takeaways and latest retailer practices. First, losses attributable to fresh meat are substantial [and growing] Retailers in the meeting consistently shared that losses on meat were growing, and could account for over a third of the total unknown losses for their business. For a large European supermarket, that could be €300k per year for just one category. At the individual sku level, some of the retailers were reporting losses on certain hot sku's, such as a leg of lamb, to be over 8% of sales. Instinctively, there was a view that the losses could be attributed to theft, and linked to the cost of living crisis being experienced globally. However, the discussion revealed some non malicious causes of losses that were contributing. Second, catch weight pricing and variable prices create system errors. Several retailers shared that moving to fixed pricing has helped remove some of the problems related to variable pricing, Making these changes was not a short or easy change, however, the impact on losses had been significant. Thirdly, range choices and display locations can make a positive difference. Retailers reported how they were trimming the range in their high risk stores. One retailer reported the removal of a multi-pack steak offering had made a significant difference. Looking at location in the store, one retailer shared how by moving their steaks to a high traffic, highly visible location in the store, where the products could be observed by shoppers and store associates, they were delivering both higher sales, and lower losses. Fourthly, source tagging is gaining traction in fresh meat loss reduction In previous meetings, retailers had reported that the addition of a highly visible security claim "this product is security protected" and a soft tag on legs of lamb, steaks, etc can reduce losses by up to 50%, deterring the opportunist thief. In response to the growth, a significant number of the retailers were now deploying or looking to expand the deployment of EAS source tagging on this category. One concern with source tagging has been self-checkout, and how the items could be reliably deactivated without creating too much extra friction and additional false alarms at the pedestals. Finally, adding friction is becoming seen as a solution of last resort. Whether this was in the form of hard security tags, nets or safer cases, the addition of these devices was seen as regrettable but unavoidable, with results suggesting a >30% improvement in losses for some of the retailers in the meeting. Looking forward, retailers in the meeting shared the potential role for new technologies such as RFID or BLE, to support tracking and improved visibility to inventory. There was some interest also in smart display cabinets. To learn a bit more, click to view recap video with Professor Beck

Revealed: The Top 30 OSA Innovations

Since October, we have been searching for accelerators, incubators, and universities worldwide for the best innovations in OSA. After a six-month search and reviewing more than 500 companies, we created a long list of 114 amazing solutions. The Top 30 have been chosen from that long list by a 36-strong panel of store operations and OSA experts, representing international retailers and CPGs from more than ten countries. These innovations were highly rated by our OSA expert judges for their potential to shape the future of OSA and find new ways to solve problems they identified across four categories: supply chain, backroom, shopfloor, and upstream design. The full list is below: You can view each of them in more detail by clicking below CLICK FOR TOP 30

What To Make Of Unexpected News Stories In The Bagging Area?

If you were to read the press and social media, you could be forgiven for thinking that we have now reached the end of the growth of self-checkout in North America. In the US, Target is now limiting access to self-checkout lanes for shoppers buying 10 items or fewer. Dollar General is making three changes to its self-checkout strategy to get a grip on increasing retail losses.  Converting many self-service lanes to staff-assisted checkouts Limiting self-checkout transactions to five items or fewer Completely removing self-checkout from its 300 highest-shrink stores. Meanwhile, Canadian retailer Loblaw is introducing gated receipt scanners at the exit to self-checkout lanes. The aim is to further control losses. But behind these eye-catching headlines, we see no hard evidence that the pace of self-checkout adoption is declining.  What we hear most about is the expansion of self-checkouts, with the introduction of larger self-service payment areas designed for shopping carts/trollies, the use of hybrid SCO’s and momentum building on the Scan & Go proposition and several retailers in our SCO working group trialling smart carts. We also note, the growth of Self-Checkout deployments beyond just the supermarket, with deployments in fashion, drug, forecourt retail, club and cash & carry, home improvement, duty free shopping and discounters. ECR Retail Loss have been hosting regular online and in-person meetings on self-checkouts for over 15 years, with participation from the self-checkout experts from over 100 different retail business’s from around the world.  This group has commissioned and published multiple research papers on their impact on losses and the interventions that can reduce frustrations, improve scan accuracy, and decrease the # of walkaways.  Our latest report New design thinking for SCO | Ecr Shrink Group ( offers innovative approaches from young designers to self-checkout stagnation.  It uses human-centred design techniques to tackle associated retail losses while creating an all-round better experience for staff and shoppers.  Based on the positive retailer responses, we can expect to see adaptations of these ideas in store soon!

Six Hot Meetings on OSA for your schedule!

In 2023, we launched our newest working group on OSA, with support from those leading the OSA work, the metrics, replenishment processes, online picking, new technology, etc, from over fifty different retailers, including Kroger, Walmart, Tesco, Asda, Jumbo, Deliveroo and others, as well as CPG's including Nestle, Procter & Gamble and Unilever The working group met five times, with online meetings on measurement, online subs, tech to measure OSA, managing OSA at peak and the role of CPG’s. Recordings of each meeting are available on request.  Today, we are happy to announce our next series of meetings. Following the same format, each meeting will start with a presentation or new research from the academics, or an update from retailers or CPG on their latest learnings, to then be followed by a group discussion. Each session will close with a recap on the key learning points. The meetings, topics and dates are below, please register yourself and your team to reserve a spot for those that fit with your work plan priorities and agenda. 1. IMPROVING SHELF REPLENISHMENT ROUTINES - WHAT WOULD TOYOTA DO? Date and time: Tuesday, April 23rd, 14:00 BST  Organisers: Paul Chapman, University of Oxford, Daniel Corsten, IE University, Madrid and Thomas Gruen, University of New Hampshire.   How can retailers increase the quality of the shelf (fewer out of stocks) while shortening lead time, removing "waste" and reducing cost? > Register Now <  2. OSA INNOVATION ONLINE SHOWCASE FINALE Date and time: Wednesday, May 22nd, 13:00 BST  Organisers: Jeremy Bassett, founder, CoCubed  The Top 10 global innovators in OSA will pitch their ideas to solve your on-shelf availability challenges. A must-see for all retailers.  > Register Now 3. SUBSTITUTIONS - HOW CAN DATA SCIENCE AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES REDUCE SURPRISES AND IMPROVE PRODUCTIVITY? Date and time: Tuesday, June 25th, 14:00 BST  Organisers: Paul Chapman, University of Oxford, Daniel Corsten, IE University, Madrid and Thomas Gruen, University of New Hampshire How can retailers find new ways to "save the sale" and reduce the cost of substitutes in online orders? > Register Now 4. EXPLORING THE IMPACT OF SELF CHECKOUTS ON IRI AND OSA [AND IMPLICATIONS] Date and time: Thursday, September 12th, 14:30 BST  Organisers: Paul Chapman, University of Oxford, Daniel Corsten, IE University, Madrid and Thomas Gruen, University of New Hampshire Scanning errors, wrong scans and walkaways will distort inventory records. Join retailers as they share their latest findings, data and evidence to confirm this relationship. > Register Now 5. AUTOMATING & AUGMENTING THE SHELF GAP SCANNING PROCESSES Date and time: Tuesday, November 19th, 14:30 GMT  Organisers: Paul Chapman, University of Oxford, Daniel Corsten, IE University, Madrid and Thomas Gruen, University of New Hampshire New technology and analytics have the potential to automate and augment the current gap-scanning processes. Learn more about the use of robots, drones, cameras and data science in retail.  > Register Now 6. HOW ARE CPGs HELPING RETAILERS IMPROVE OSA? Date and time: Thursday, January 23rd, 2025, 14:30 GMT  Organisers: Paul Chapman, University of Oxford, Daniel Corsten, IE University, Madrid and Thomas Gruen, University of New Hampshire  Updates from Unilever, Nestle and P&G on their work to support retailers with OSA measurement, resources, anomaly detection, anti-theft solutions and field-based resources, with a focus on best practices from South America > Register Now We look forward to seeing you online and finding new ways to solve on-shelf availability challenges.

best buy
dollar general
foot locker
john lewis
river island
whole foods


The research priorities are determined by its members – they drive the agenda to ensure ECR delivers research that meets the need of the industry bringing new insights, tools and techniques that enables retailers to sell more and lose less.