Retailer spending on crime prevention has jumped by 332% year on year to a record high average mean of £29m per company, according to the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) latest retail crime survey.
The figure, which covers the period between 1 April 2016 and 1 March 2017, compares to an average yearly spend of £6.7m per retailer in 2015-16.
The BRC said retailers on average spent around the same on non-cyber crime prevention in 12 weeks last year compared with spending on it during the whole of the previous year.
The total direct cost of retail crime has risen by around 6% to more than £700m year on year.
The survey, which polled the experiences of 1.1 million retail employees, saw the direct cost of customer theft increase by nearly 15% to £503m.
Nearly half of BRC members saw an increase in the number of cyber-attacks on their businesses during the year. The data indicated that mean spend on cyber-crime has rocketed by nearly 400% to £8m per retailer.
On the other hand, the data found the direct cost of fraud has reduced by just under 15% to £155m, boosted by significant investment in prevention from retailers.
The BRC also pointed to a “deeply concerning” spike in violence against staff causing injury, with the number of reported incidents doubling from the previous year.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said the organisation is “working to build a new model for co-operation around tackling retail crime” and is encouraging decision-makers to “apply the priority these issues deserve”.
Dickinson said: “Retail already faces its own challenges, with margins shrinking, and against that backdrop the pressures that retail crime exerts are having a stronger impact.
“Retailers are doing everything possible to ensure that staff members and customers are safe and protected. But they are now spending record amounts on crime prevention, which is a drag on the economic viability of shops and not infinitely sustainable.
”A new approach is required. Working with our key partners, [the BRC is] seeking to deliver an agreed strategy to halt violence and abuse in its tracks.”