Theft costs retailers £600m in 2014

The impact of theft on UK retailers has been analysed by the British Retail Consortium in its annual Retail Crime Survey, highlighting that crime cost UK merchants £603m in 2013-14.

Despite a 4% decline in incidents of theft, the average value of each crime in-store has increased by 36% to £241, according to the report.

The survey of retailers also highlighted the growing incidence of fraud, with most admitting online fraud is the most worrisome area. Retailers warned that they expect fraud to pose the single most significant threat to their business over the next two years.

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This trend is thought to be caused, in part, by the prevalence of organised and sophisticated criminal gangs.

Director general of the British Retail Consortium, Helen Dickinson, said: “Criminal activity against UK retailers continues to have wide-ranging consequences for businesses, employees and the vast majority of honest shoppers. The average cost to retailers of theft has now reached £241 per incident, the highest in a decade.

Fraud committed online also continues to rise. “It is clear that retailers are facing an increasingly sophisticated criminal. Despite an average investment of £2m per business in crime and loss prevention, retailers need help and support to respond to the threat. Police and Crime Commissioners should follow the lead set by the Mayor of London and work with retailers to develop dedicated business crime strategies to help tackle this growing problem.”

BRC Retail Crime Survey 2014: Key findings

• There were an estimated 3m offences against UK retailers in 2013-14, directly adding £603m to retailers’ costs.
• Although the volume of shop theft offences declined by 4 per cent, the average value of each incident increased from £177 to £241.
• Fraud increased by 12 per cent in 2013-14 and accounts for 37 per cent of the total cost of retail crime.
• Retailers report that cyber attacks pose a critical threat to their business.
• There were 32 incidents of violence and abuse per 1,000 employees in 2013-14.

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