(Feb. 13) LAS VEGAS — Retailers packed themselves in rows like sardines to learn how they can save money at the “Shrink Control in Perishable Departments: What You Need to Know to Prevent Loss” workshop Feb. 10 at the National Grocers Association Convention.

Mike Beal, chief financial officer of Ball’s Price Chopper/Hen House and White Hen Supermarkets, shed light on some often overlooked ways retailers are losing money.

Most retailers realize that you can lose money through failed advertisements, equipment malfunction, damaged product and spoilage. However, Beal said lesser-known money suckers are customer and employee theft, misrings, poor record keeping and accounting mistakes.

]Stores need to invest money in order to save it in the long haul. One way to reduce shrink is to properly train retail staff on the different types of produce.

“In my mind, training is a very weak link in most organizations,” Beal said.

He pointed out that if the cashier doesn’t ring up a red delicious apple correctly, money is lost. Another tip he offered is to train checkers to look under the basket for that bag of potatoes the shopper forgot to put on the counter.

Beal said training affects more than most retailers realize. He said retailers must take time to show produce clerks what to do with green bananas, show them how to hydrate green leafy vegetables or how to tell a jonathon apple from a red delicious. Even teaching them how to open boxes without damaging product is vital to loss prevention, he said.

Spoilage is a major cause of shrinkage. Beal said keeping logs of when products like bad apples and cherries are thrown away and how much they cost will emphasize the amount spoilage costs a company.