Putting the cost to businesses aside, BRC Director General, Kevin Hawkins, is quoted as saying:
"...the most disturbing figure is the growing trend of verbal and physical violence experienced by retailers. Retail crime is not victimless; it leaves deep scars not only on business viability and retail staff, but also on the community with the significant costs of prevention often passed on to all threads of society."
To view the press release by the BRC see: BRC retail crime survey: cost of crime up, violence against staff up. You have to buy the full report through the BRC website, however, a summary of the report - Retail Crime Survey 2004-2005: Key Facts - can be viewed here.