Shoplifters make off with goods worth almost £400,000 every day, British retailers have said.
The year-on-year cost of theft to high street stores up and down the country has soared from £99 million to £137 million.
Items from TVs, to computer games, clothes and perfumes worth £375,342 are swiped from the shelves every day.
Retailers suspect organised gangs of thieves who steal more valuable hauls are responsible for the rising figure.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the average price tag of goods stolen in one theft has increased from £45 to £70.
Stephen Robertson, of the BRC, said the fall in offences reflects the increased investment of stores in security measures.
But he called on the Government, police and courts to do more to support businesses despite the potential impact of budget cuts on public services.
Mr Robertson added: “It’s encouraging to see this having a positive impact on the number of shoplifting offences but the cost to retailers still went up. Retailers’ extra investment in stopping crime has deterred a lot of opportunist thefts leaving a higher proportion of determined, organised thieves who take a greater value of goods each time they steal.”
The figures were based on a survey of 54 retailers who employ more than 1.3 million staff and represent almost half of Britain’s retail turnover.
Researchers uncovered an 11% fall in crime per 100 outlets compared with the previous year. Shoplifting incidents were down 10.6% as stores spent £210 million protecting their staff, stock and premises.