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INDUSTRY FOCUS

Retail crime prevention costs are increasing

The total cost of crime and crime prevention for retailers was £1.9 billion last year, up 12 per cent from £1.7 billion the previous year, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Its annual survey revealed that this was made up of £900 million direct cost from retail crime and £1 billion spent in efforts to prevent crime.

The research covers the period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 and includes the responses of retailers which collectively control 11,000 stores and £103 billion of turnover – equivalent to just under one-third of the retail market.

The direct costs of crime included a £700 million loss arising from customer theft, a 31 per cent rise on the previous year. The total cost of crime is equivalent to approximately 20 per cent of the estimated profits of the entire retail industry.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson commented: “The spiralling cost of retail crime - both in losses and the cost of prevention - are a huge burden to a retail sector that is already weighed down by the twin challenges of skyrocketing business costs and Brexit uncertainty.

Retailers are spending 17 per cent more on cyber-security than last year (£162 million) and nearly 80 per cent of the retailers surveyed have seen an increase in the number of cyber-attacks. 

Clare Gardiner, the National Cyber Security Centre’s director of engagement, said: “Cyber-attacks can have a huge impact, but to help potential victims pro-actively defend themselves we have published a range of easy-to-implement guidance on our website.” 

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