UK RETAILERS faced a rising tide of crime last year as the number of thefts hit its highest level in nine years.
Meanwhile the average value of loss soared 62 per cent to £177 for each incident.
The British Retail Consortium, which conducts an annual retail crime survey, said retailers now invest an average of £2m each in crime and loss prevention, but thieves also appeared to be better prepared.
The BRC said that theft from stores pushed the cost of retail crime up to £511m last year, 166 per cent higher than five years ago.
BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “Last year we also saw a dramatic increase in fraud and e-crime with eight in ten retailers reporting a rise in fraud and the majority of retailers telling us that cyber-attacks pose a critical threat to their business. Combined with the increase in organised theft, this means that retailers are facing an increasingly sophisticated criminal.
“Far from being victimless, we all pay for this increased stealing through higher prices and, increasingly, shop closures and damage to town centres as safety is reduced and communities are blighted.”