The direct cost of retail crime has reached the highest level in a decade at £603m, according to this year’s British Retail Consortium Retail Crime Survey.
The report found that the average value of each in-store theft across the total UK retail sector increased by 36% to £241 per incident for 2013-14.
The vast majority of retailers also reported suffering increasing levels of fraud, most of which is now committed online.
The respondents said they expect fraud to pose the single most significant threat to their businesses over the next two years.
“It is clear that retailers are facing an increasingly sophisticated criminal,” said BRC director general Helen Dickinson. “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.”
The report found that there were an estimated 3 million offences against UK retailers in 2013-14 and, although the volume of shop theft offences declined by 4%, the average value of each incident increased from £177 to £241.
Fraud increased by 12% during the period and accounts for some 37% of the total cost of retail crime. An estimated 59% of fraud was committed by organised groups.
There were 32 incidents of violence and abuse per 1,000 employees in 2013-14.