On average, shoplifting is costing independent retailers £2,352 a year in losses, according to an RN retail crime survey.
The survey, launched in partnership with the NFRN, tracked responses from more than 100 retailers over a five-month period.
Retailers revealed that, on average, they deal with 14 shoplifting incidents per month, with the average value of goods stolen per incident priced at £14.
Former Scottish NFRN district president Hussan Lal told Better Retailing the findings match what he experiences in store.
“This is a similar figure to the losses I see from thefts that take place,” he said. “We get a lot of bottles of alcohol stolen, which are of an extremely high value.”
When commenting on their safety in store at night, 50% of retailers said they felt either unsafe, or very unsafe, with 47% revealing that vulnerable customers are no longer visiting due to the threat level.
Dave Hiscutt, owner of Londis Westham Road in Weymouth, Dorset, said his elderly customers stopped visiting when groups of young people began to stand outside the store.
“We were losing customers because of the youths,” he said. “We installed a mosquito device outside that plays a high-pitched noise to help move them on, and eventually they did.”
Hiscutt urged retailers to persevere with new ideas to tackle crime. “Our strategy was effective over time,” he said. “Things take time, retailers have to keep giving things a go.”
The survey also found that 41% of retailers were unable to open later due to their crime threat, and 54% had been forced to lower their stock levels to reduce potential losses.
West Midlands Nisa retailer Paul Cheema warned that retail crime is controlling how businesses operate.
“We aren’t getting the help we should, so we are being forced to adapt our business to protect ourselves,” he said. “We have to be careful with what products we choose to put on sale, and where we put them all the time.”
He called on the government to provide investment support through funding. “It’s impossible for a lot of retailers to be able to afford to invest in security measures,” he said. “We desperately need government help to do so.”
NFRN national president Stuart Reddish said: “The impact of retail crime can be devastating and long-lasting, so RN is to be commended for running a survey to discover its true cost and frequency across the UK.”
Read more retail crime news and advice