Staff in almost one in three c-stores faced a violent attack last year, according to a study by the Co-operative Group.
The society said crime against staff in its stores had risen 9% between January 2003 and January 2004, despite an investment of £15m in crime prevention measures.
Its report showed that the use of weapons in robberies had grown and verbal abuse of shop staff had virtually doubled.
The number of till snatching incidents had risen by a third, as had the total number of recorded criminal incidents.
The number of burglaries only increased slightly.
Publication of the study, based on a survey of 2,500 Co-op food stores, comes the week before shopworker union Usdaw’s
Respect for Shopworkers Week. The event aims to highlight violence and abuse suffered by store staff and will begin with the publication of Usdaw’s own crime survey which covers major UK retailers.
Separately, the Home Office launched its Taking a Stand Awards 2004 this week, rewarding those who have stood up against antisocial behaviour in the community.