Retail crime costing UK retailers over £700m

Customer thefts, violence against staff, cyber-attacks and other retail crimes costed UK retailers over £700 million in 2017, a 6% increase from the previous year.



According to the BRC’s annual Retail Crime Survey, customer theft remains the largest element of retail crime, accounting for over 70% of the total cost. In 2017, customer theft costed over £500 million – this is a 15% increase on the previous results.

Violence against staff has also grown significantly, with the rate of violence with injury doubling since the previous year. According to the survey, the rate means 13 retail employees were injured by customers every day.

But it’s not all bad news. The direct cost of fraud has reduced by £27 million as a result of retailers upping their investment in prevention. This is a 15% decrease on the previous period.

However, retailers need to work together to tackle the crime issues, and adopt a new approach, said the BRC.

“Retail directly employs nearly one in every 10 workers in the UK, and millions more indirectly. Retail already faces its own challenges, with margins shrinking, and against that backdrop the pressures that retail crime exerts are having a stronger impact. That is why we are working to build a new model for co-operation around tackling retail crime, and encourage decision-makers throughout the country to apply the priority these issues deserve,” commented Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC.

“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.”

The British Retail Consortium is working with its partners to develop an industry-wide strategy to halt violence against staff.

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