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Security works: better red than stolen.

The weak economy has made a lot of people see red, especially retailers, whose profits have dropped not only as the result of slow sales but also from a rise in shoplifting incidents. Herman's World of Sporting Goods, a 270-store retail chain headquartered in Carteret, New Jersey, has chosen to see red dye tags rather than red numbers in its accounts.

Dye tags have been around for years but haven't been popular among retailers because they stain the merchandise when shoplifters try to remove them before exiting the store. "I didn't want to lose [merchandise] to dye or to theft," explains Joe Klein, Herman's director of loss prevention.

Klein's reservations about using the dye tags were overcome in 1991 after an exhaustive five-month test of the Universal KnoGlo dye tag by Knogo Corporation. The test was conducted in eleven stores, and the deterrent effect of the dye tags was immediate. "The results were astounding," says Klein. "When shoplifting is reduced by 65 to 75 percent, that kind of evidence is hard to ignore."

Klein also liked the tag's versatility. It can be used in conjunction with the electronic article surveillance system (EAS) tags already installed in stores. The front part, or pin, is a transparent container filled with dye, which can be attached to any EAS sensor tag backing. Thus, the tag provides double protection. The potential shoplifter has to contend not only with getting out of the store through the EAS pedestals but also with getting the tag off the merchandise without staining it. That is impossible without a decoupling device located at the point of sale.

The cost of the dye pin is approximately the same as the cost of the EAS pin. Klein controlled overall costs by using the tags only on items targeted by shoplifters. By February 1992, all 270 stores had the dye tags coupled with sensors on high-risk merchandise, such as licensed apparel, ski jackets, and jogging suits.

After twenty-six years in the loss prevention business, Klein knows a successful product when he uses it. Klein and his colleagues still occasionally come across evidence of that success, a few pieces of stained merchandise that have been tucked away by culprits who have practiced on them - without success.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Addis, Karen; Arbetter, Lisa; Murphy, Joan
Publication:Security Management
Date:Sep 1, 1993
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