Retailers are being targeted by more organised, sophisticated criminals, according to a new survey realised today which shows the impact of theft has reached its highest level in a decade.

The British Retail Consortium’s Retail Crime Survey claims the average value of each theft in-store increased by 36 per cent year on year to £241 per incident, helping to push the direct cost of retail crime up to £603m in 2013-14. 

The vast majority of respondents to the survey also reported rising levels of fraud, most of which is now committed online, with retailers warning that fraud posed the single most significant threat to their business over the next two years.

The BRC issued a call for police around the country to develop dedicated strategies to tackle business crime. 

“Criminal activity against UK retailers continues to have wide-ranging consequences for businesses, employees and the vast majority of honest shoppers,“ said BRC director general, Helen Dickinson. “It is clear that retailers are facing an increasingly sophisticated criminal. Despite an average investment of £2m per business in crime and loss prevention, retailers need help and support to respond to the threat.”

“Police and Crime Commissioners should follow the lead set by the Mayor of London and work with retailers to develop dedicated business crime strategies to help tackle this growing problem.”