Top 10 tips to maximise the recovery of your losses

Following recent reports that retail crime in the UK is at a 10-year high with a direct cost of over £600m, we share our top ten tips to help retail businesses maximise the amount recovered through the civil recovery process. 

On 20 January 2015, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported that retail theft has reached a 10-year high, and the direct cost to retailers during 2013-2014 is said to be over £600m. A large number of respondents also said that they were experiencing increased levels of fraud, with the majority having been committed online. In fact, retailers warned that they expect fraud to be the biggest threat to their businesses during the next two years.

The increasing levels of theft, combined with the rising direct costs to retailers, mean that maximising recovery is more important than ever before. Below we share our top ten tips to maximise the recovery of your losses in 2015.

  1. Look beyond the obvious. Clients tend to focus on shop theft and theft/fraud by colleagues working in-store. However, there will be losses in other areas of your business that aren’t being considered and pursued, such as the logistics and distribution parts of your business.
  2. Speak to your legal advisors earlier in the process. They’ll see it from a different perspective and can offer advice and assistance that will increase your chances of getting your money back
  3. Improve reporting rates. Typically, we find clients only report between 10-15% of all theft and fraud. That means, if you currently recover £300,000 per annum through civil recovery, you could be recovering £3,000,000. By not improving reporting rates you’re throwing money away. A very visual way of seeing this really brings it home to the business; our clients benefit from a web based system called Qlikview which interactively shows who is and isn’t reporting cases within their estate.
  4. Get business buy in for your civil recovery process. It’s no use having a policy if the business doesn’t follow it. Try including reporting rates as a KPI.
  5. Data quality is key. It’s all very well identifying offenders but if the data you pass to your civil recovery supplier is of a poor quality or is incomplete, you are severely reducing the prospects of making a recovery.
  6. Look beyond simply the money recovered. Sometimes the financial savings which can be made by stopping/deterring future offences can be equally valuable. If you have a significant legal spend relating to the pursuit of an individual or gang, then consider the cost to the business of each incident and the frequency of incidents; you’ll probably find the return on investment is surprisingly short when taking into account the reduced losses.
  7. Have a firm policy on Restorative Justice, agreed centrally and have your estate follow it. Understand how this will affect your civil recovery claims.
  8. Remember to report each offender to your civil recovery supplier when more than one person is involved in an incident.
  9. Don’t forget overpayment of salaries. If you dismiss someone for Gross Misconduct, you may well find that they have been overpaid, such as for holidays or may owe the business money in respect of staff loans, sponsorship of professional qualifications etc.
  10. Don’t be afraid to test the market and see what other civil recovery suppliers offer, this could be a champion challenge between your current supplier and another, or tendering your work to ensure you are getting the best service, for the best price, delivering the best returns whilst protecting your brand.

If you have any questions about the article or would like more information about civil recovery, please contact one of our specialists below.

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.


There has been a revolution in retail. The convergence of bricks and clicks, emergence of dark stores and increase of convenience stores, reliance on multi-channel platforms, increased consumer choice, economic changes, extended supply chains and the increasingly complex regulatory framework that surrounds them present opportunities for retailers.

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Kevin Feehan


I deal with all types of money and asset recovery for clients in a variety of sectors including financial institutions, retailers, insurers, commercial clients, local and central government.

David Scottow

Director - National Head of Recoveries

I am a Senior Director and National Head of Recoveries with almost 40 years’ experience in debt litigation, insolvency and credit management..