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Cost of retail crime reached £700m in 2017: BRC

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Retail crime cost the industry more than £700m in 2017, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC). That’s 6% more than in 2016, according to the BRC 2017 Retail Crime Survey.

The BRC said that retailers spent an average of £29m each on non-cyber crime – and had upped their spend on preventing cyber crime by at least 400%. Over the period covered by the report, from April 1 2016 to March 1 2017, nearly half of respondents said they had seen a rise in the number of cyber attacks. However, the direct cost of fraud fell by £27m – or 15% – to £155m. Card not present, refund and insider fraud were the most serious types of fraud during the year.

The most prevalent crime was in store, by means of theft by customers – now costing the industry more than half a billion a year.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC said: “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-operations around tackling retail crime, and encourage decision makers throughout the country to apply the priority these issues deserve.

“In particular, the figures on violence present a deeply concerning picture. Attacks on retail workers are intolerable and our members are completely clear that keeping their staff safe and providing an environment in which they can work free of fear from threats and violence, is their first priority.

“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.”

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