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Cost Of Retail Crime Reaches £1.6bn

(c) Sky News 2013

The overall cost of crime has soared by 15.6% in a year, according to the British Retail Consortium.

It now stands at a £1.6bn, with customer thefts representing 83% of all incidents.

The number of incidents has also risen in the majority of offences, with the exception of robbery, which has remained stable.

However, violence against staff has gone down by 55%, when compared to the previous year.

Customer theft continues to be the most prevalent when looking at the number of incidents. However, so-called e-crime now equates to the most costly type of crime affecting the sector.

The BRC said retailers continue to invest significantly to protect their businesses, staff and customers against crime and anti-social behaviour.

Expenditure on crime and loss prevention had risen by 7.1% when compared with the previous year, with a median expenditure of £750,000 per retailer. 

Meanwhile, Britain's battered retail sector saw a fall in the number of shoppers last month despite a last-minute surge in the week before Christmas, figures have revealed.

Shopper numbers dropped by 1.2% across the UK compared with December 2011 as consumers continued to rein in their spending, according to the BRC's latest Springboard footfall monitor.

The increasing popularity of so-called click-and-collect services helped the high street weather tough trading conditions.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said that while the footfall figures made for painful reading, retailers were helped as shoppers spent more per visit.

BRC sales data for December showed like-for-like sales edging up 0.3% in December, boosted also by an 18% jump in internet orders.

However, last Friday's official sales figures from the Office for National Statistics were far less cheery, showing a worse-than-expected 0.1% drop in volumes month-on-month in December.

The raft of high profile retail administrations has added to fears over the sector, with camera chain Jessops, entertainment group HMV and movie and game rental group Blockbuster all having collapsed since the start of the year.

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