Independent retailer survey proves retail crime heavily impacts local communities, not just stores

The prevalence of retail crime affecting the independent convenience retail channel is harming local communities as much as the shops that are targeted by thieves, a survey carried out by trade magazines Retail Express and RN has found.

The survey, launched in partnership with trade association, the NFRN, tracked responses from more than 100 retailers over a five-month period.

It found that shoplifting is costing independent newsagents and convenience store owners £2,352 a year in losses, resulting in retailers in high-crime areas adopting measures that better protect their stock, but restrict access to high-theft goods. Items that are important for communities to access are being removed from stores, including baby formula, fresh meat and medicines.

Respondents revealed that their businesses are hit by an average of 14 shoplifting incidents every month, with the average value of goods stolen per incident priced at £14.

West Midlands retailer Paul Cheema said retail crime is controlling how his and other retailers’ businesses operate. He commented: “We aren’t getting the help we should, so we are being forced to adapt our business to protect our¬selves.

“We have to be careful with what products we choose to put on sale, and where we put them all the time.”

Retailers reported struggling to meet the cost of equipment to protect their stores, such as having CCTV effective enough for police to secure convictions for shoplifting offenders. More than a third of retailers said their CCTV needed upgrading.

Cheema added: “It’s impossible for a lot of retailers to be able to afford to invest in security measures. We desperately need government help to do so.”

Fifty per cent of retailers reported feeling ‘unsafe’ or ‘very unsafe’ in their stores at night, with 47% revealing that their vulnerable customers are no longer visiting their stores in the evenings due to the risk of crime.

Other measures taken by retailers to reduce the risk of retail crime include shutting their stores earlier and reducing investment in services such as Post Offices and new product ranges – depriving their communities’ access to goods and vital services.

Newtrade Media is dedicated to providing independent news and convenience retailers and wholesalers with the latest industry news and advice, through its print publications and online platforms via betterRetailing.com and betterwholesaling.com.

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Notes to editors:

RN is published by Newtrade Media Limited, dedicated to providing independent news and convenience retailers and wholesalers with the latest industry news and advice, through its print publications and online platforms via betterRetailing.com and betterwholesaling.com.


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