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Retail Crime Survey – Fraud and Cyber attacks on the rise

The impact of theft on UK retailers has reached its highest level in a decade according to this year’s BRC Retail Crime Survey. The average value of each theft in-store increased by 36% to £241 per incident, helping to push the direct cost of retail crime up to £603m in 2013-14.

The vast majority of respondents also reported suffering increasing levels of fraud, most of which is now committed online. Retailers warned that they expect fraud to pose the single most significant threat to their business over the next two years.

A bar chart showing Retail crime, by number of incidents, 2012-13 and 2013-14

Retail crime, by number of incidents, 2012-13 and 2013-14

These trends are thought to be, in part, a consequence of retailers being targeted by more organised, sophisticated criminals. The BRC has recommended that dedicated strategies to tackle business crime need to be developed by police around the country, in close partnership with businesses. A fundamental part of this approach is ensuring that data on business crime is properly collected and analysed by police, so that it can be used to inform operational activity.

A chart showing Direct cost of retail crime, 2007-08 to 2013-14

Direct cost of retail crime, 2007-08 to 2013-14

Helen Dickinson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium, 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.”

A chart showing Most significant threat over next 2 years, by proportion of respondents

Most significant threat over next 2 years, by proportion of respondents

BRC Retail Crime Survey 2014: Key findings

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

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