Retail Crime in the UK

I was watching CrimeWatch last night and a particular clip showed a young man stealing a ring from a jewelers shop. It made me wonder whether or not the current economic climate has an affect on the retail crime.

In 2012 the British Retail Consortium conducted a survey into the current state of retail crime in the UK. 44 retailers participated. I’m guessing that it didn’t include the often forgotten about Independents as the combined turnover accounts for 58% of total retail turnover in the UK.

Here are some headline figures from the report;

Retail crime cost UK retailers £1.6 billion in 2011-12 – up 15% on previous year.
This maybe due to a focus on Higher value items

There are various different categories of retail crime. They include; customer
theft, employee theft, burglary, criminal damage and fraud. Most of the categories saw an increase in levels.

Interestingly despite these increases and the overall cost, there was a significant reduction in the amount of crime reported to the Police.

Furthermore, increased spend of crime prevention (Approximately 7.1%) didn’t help reduce crime incidents.

But not all crime occurs in the shop. E-crime is on the rise and is the most costly. Identity fraud increased 80%.

Most shocking is that 28,700 staff were subject to physical or verbal abuse during the year. However, my feeling is that this number would be significantly more when you factor in independent retailers.

So what are the ways that shop owners can protect themselves and their stock.

If you want to read the study in greater detail you can download the BRC Retail Crime study here.

16 High-Street brands we said goodbye to in 2012

January is always a telling month in the Retail trade.  It’s when Retail stores report on how successful their trading has been and how well Christmas was.

Why is Christmas so important to retailers?  Well it approximately accounts for 21% of a retailers’ annual sales?  This means that the Christmas period is critical and can make or break a business.  Have a poor Christmas and in January/February we hear about closing businesses.

And 2013 has been no-exceptional.  According to the latest statistics store closures have been dramatically increasing over the years.

…”the net reduction in the number of stores climbed from 174 closures in 2011 to 1,779 closures in 2012”. [source:pwc]

This does not include the rate of closures for Independent shops.

So which of the big brands have closed in 2012;

  1. Repbublic
  2. Blockbuster
  3. HMW
  4. Jessops
  5. Comet
  6. JJB
  7. Clinton Cards
  8. Game
  9. Peacocks
  10. Past Times
  11. Blacks
  12. La Senza
  13. Jane Norman
  14. Habitat
  15. Focus DIY
  16. TJ Hughes

Yes, it’s a list of 16 Big High Street.  There are a number of factors being blamed for distress on our high steets.  Poor economic climate, lack-lustre consumer spending and bad business models.

There is no doubt that a bricks and mortar presence on the High Street is costly.  Staffing, rates, rents, utilities costs’ keep rising this has to be reflected in the price of goods so if a business can offer cheaper products online where costs are less, then the savvy shopper will no-doubt take the cheaper option.

The research showed that travel agents, sports goods shops, computer games and card shops faired this worse.

I have no doubt that we shall see more closures in 2013 and more empty units appear on the High Street.

We are where we are with the economy the trick will be how creative Council will be in approaching this problem.  Pop-up shops, reducing rents, increasing parking should all be considered.