Dramatic rise in the cost of retail crime

Retail crime cost 15.6% more last year, retailers being hit with a total bill of £1.6bn.

Dramatic rise in the cost of retail crime

However, their lack of confidence in police response saw dramatically fewer incidents being reported, according to the British Retail Consortium, which released its Retail Crime Survey 2012 today.

The data comes from 44 retailers – 58% of the retail sector by turnover – with the £1.6bn figure covering retail crime of all types and including the value of goods stolen and damage done, plus retailers’ spend on prevention.

Numbers of incidents of crime rose across all categories apart from violence against staff and robbery. Customer thefts are the most common retail crime (83% of incidents) but saw the biggest fall in reporting – down from 47% in 2011 to just 12%. That suggests, says the BRC, that retailers’ confidence in police response needs to be improved.

The survey indicates that retailers suffer 2m of these shoplifting incidents each year, involving around £200m-worth of goods. The average value of goods stolen in each offence has risen 28% to £109.

Nearly one in 20 stores suffered a robbery during the year, and the average cost of each incident trebled to £3,005 from £989 the previous year – a result of more serious, organised offending. The survey also shows that over 28,000 retail workers suffered physical attacks, threats or verbal abuse.

All types of fraud increased, with identity fraud rising for 80% of retailers, and overall fraud accounted for 26% of the cost of retail crime last year. But e-crime accounted for 37% of the cost, and is now the most expensive form of retail crime.

Retailers are also now spending more on efforts to protect their staff, stock and customers: those surveyed spent an average £750,000 each on crime prevention – up 7% from the previous year.

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