Sir, It is disappointing to read that while £970m was spent on retail security in the UK last year, shoplifting is still adding about £180 to the average family's annual shopping bill ('Thieves target small stores pushing total theft above £4.4bn', The Grocer, 23 October).

Many retailers have turned to hardware security solutions in an attempt to break the shoplifting cycle and deter criminals by using sophisticated CCTV and electronic tagging of high-value items. But, in an industry already strapped for cash, these are an expensive commodity to roll out across an entire retail estate if you are not going to benefit from a significant ROI.

Technology is now available to make identifying, reporting and addressing areas of vulnerability quick and easy, even for those with few or no IT skills. Only by profiling the problem can retailers act proactively and effectively. As well as looking backwards at data and being able to see that store X suffered Y number of thefts, retailers will also benefit from capturing data that spots trends as they're happening, enabling store managers to optimise the store layout, and the use of cabinets and cameras so temptation is removed.

Richard Paterson Business development manager, Hicom