According to preliminary National Retail Security Survey findings, retail shrinkage rates decreased to 1.41 percent of retail sales in 2011 ($34.5 billion) from 1.49 percent ($37.1 billion) in 2010.

Retail shrinkage consists of a loss of inventory due to employee theft, shoplifting, paperwork errors or supplier fraud, according to a National Retail Federation press release.

But although overall shrink has decreased, retailers are seeing a rise in organized crime. According to NRF's recently released Organized Retail Crime survey, 96 percent of retailers have been a victim of organized retail crime in the last 12 months. 

According to the survey's preliminary findings, the majority of retail shrinkage last year was due to employee theft (43.9 percent of total losses). Shoplifting accounted for approximately 35.7 percent, up from just over 32 percent in 2010. 

Other losses included administrative error (12.1 percent) and vendor fraud (5 percent). Retailers said that the cause of the remaining 3.1 percent of shrinkage was unknown.