The annual cost of retail crime in the UK has soared to an all-time record of £613m as thieves increasingly use violence and target luxury goods, industry figures show.
It was a 2% rise on the year before despite the number of offences falling for a second year in a row, to 750,144, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
That was because the average value of goods stolen in each incident rose by more than a third to £325, according to the BRC’s annual retail crime survey.
The report said the high value of items stolen as the number of crimes dropped suggested they were “increasingly being carried out by sophisticated criminals stealing to order”.
Meanwhile, most retailers said the level of cyber attacks they faced had increased or remained unchanged in the last year and fraud rose by 55%, accounting for more than a third of crime against retailers.
Figures also showed that there had been a 28% increase in offences involving abuse or violence – representing 41 out of every 1,000 crimes, compared to 32 out of 1,000 the year before.
BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson OBE said: “These figures demonstrate the growing cost of crime against retailers – both human and financial.
“A small number of criminals are using ever-more sophisticated techniques to seize luxury items and to target retail employees with abuse and violence in their place of work.”