Sysrepublic’s Ernie Deyle in Fortune Magazine

Light-fingered employees cost American stores (and consumers) more than shoplifters do.

It’s almost Groundhog Day, but for retailers, the holiday season is finally winding down.

“The four months from October through January are when stores see not just their biggest sales volume of the year, but also the most returns and exchanges,” says Ernie Deyle, a 30-year veteran of the retail loss-prevention wars who leads the business consulting practice at London-based data analytics firm Sysrepublic. “Unfortunately, the same four months account for about half of all annual shrinkage.”