BRC Retail Crime Survey 2014: ‘Value of shop theft now tops £600 million’

The impact of theft on UK retailers has reached its highest level in a decade according to the 2014 BRC Retail Crime Survey

The impact of theft on UK retailers has reached its highest level in a decade according to the 2014 BRC Retail Crime Survey

The impact of theft on UK retailers has reached its highest level in a decade. According to the British Retail Consortium’s Retail Crime Survey 2014, published this morning, the average value of each in-store theft has increased by 36% to £241 per incident, helping to push the direct cost of retail crime up to £603 million in 2013-2014.

The majority of respondents to the BRC’s latest survey also reported suffering increasing levels of fraud, most of which is now committed online. Indeed, retailers have warned that they expect fraud to pose the single most significant threat to their business over the next two years.

At least in part, the trends outlined by the survey are thought to be a consequence of retailers being targeted by more organised and sophisticated criminals.

The BRC has recommended that dedicated strategies to tackle business crime need to be developed by police around the country working in close partnership with the business community. A fundamental part of this approach rests on ensuring that data relating to business crime is properly collected and analysed by the police service such that it can then be used to inform operational activity.

Commenting on the survey results, Helen Dickinson (director general of the British Retail Consortium) explained: “Criminal activity against UK retailers continues to have wide-ranging consequences for businesses, employees and the majority of honest shoppers. The average cost of theft for retailers has now reached £241 per incident. This represents the highest level in a decade. Fraud committed online also continues to rise.”

Dickinson continued: “It’s clear that retailers are facing an increasingly sophisticated criminal. Despite an average investment of £2 million per business in crime and loss prevention measures, retailers need help and support to respond to the threat.”

The BRC’s director general believes that Police and Crime Commissioners should follow the lead set by the Mayor of London and “work with retailers to develop dedicated business crime strategies” that will assist in tackling this growing problem.

BRC Retail Crime Survey 2014: Key findings

*There were an estimated three million offences committed against UK retailers in 2013-2014, directly adding £603 million to retailers’ costs

*Although the volume of shop theft offences has declined by 4%, the average value of each incident increased from £177 to £241

*Incidents of fraud rose by 12% in 2013-2014 and now account for 37% of the total cost of retail crime

*Retailers report that cyber attacks pose “a critical threat” to their business

*There were 32 incidents of violence and abuse per 1,000 retail employees in 2013-2014

Download a copy of the Retail Crime Survey 2014 from the BRC’s website


About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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