Shop owners have faced increasing costs from thefts in recent years.
A survey by the British Retail Consortium in 2016 showed the cost of retail crime that year was £613m – then the highest level since records began.
Stores have been facing criminal gangs operating in a sophisticated way and stealing luxury goods to order, such as hi-tech gadgets or designer clothes.
Although the number of incidents has fallen, the average value of items stolen rose by over a third. The average cost was £325 per theft.
The gangs have been deploying specialised equipment such as foil-lined bags and de-taggers to fool security staff and avoid being caught.
In fact, 40% of the crimes were blamed on gangs, the survey showed.
Thefts can be a major threat to a retail business’ future. With spiraling insurance premiums and losses from stolen goods, a retailer’s profit margins could soon be hit badly.
The main types of crimes against retailers
- Customer theft– accounted for 83% of the thefts reported to the BRC survey in 2016. That’s the clear majority of incidents which retail businesses face.
- Staff theft– a relatively small problem by comparison with customer theft. However, amounts can be substantial if staff with access to banking, payroll, and the books are involved in criminal activity.
- Fraud– retailers face the same threat from fraudsters as other businesses. They face the same cyber threats from hackers and those spreading ransomware, along with banking fraud.
- Attacks on staff– data collected in 2016 revealed a 28% increase in abuse or violence against shop staff. It can be a major problem for employers in the retail sector – and this can result in staff having to take time off with injuries or stress.
What can retailers do to combat thefts?
Boost security– Improve your CCTV, get door alarms, hire security guards, boost security at your warehouse. This will also help keep your staff safe and may help to reduce your insurance premiums.
Computerise all stock control– This will ensure you have an accurate picture of stock you sell and hold, and you’ll spot any signs of theft quickly.
Review your risk management– Talk to an independent broker with a risk management team, just like Severn Bay, who can look at the threats against your business and help you come up with a plan to combat them.
Review your insurance cover– Your independent broker will be able to access the best deals across the whole of the marketplace to ensure you get the cover which fits your business. You’ll look at covering the loss of goods, including in transit, the loss of trading profits, and employer’s liability cover.
Do you need advice on the right insurance for retailers? Call our experienced brokers on 02920 470375.