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How to keep your business safe over the Christmas season

Tis the season once again; flickering lights twinkle down our high streets and last-minute shoppers scurry around the stores looking for the perfect gift for their loved ones. It’s also a time for celebrating, overindulging and enjoying ourselves. However, as retail owners, you will experience a different point of view of the lead up to Christmas. Customers are dashing around in a blind panic because they have yet to start their Christmas shopping. People who have been out overindulging come stumbling down the high street, full of Christmas cheer and into your shop. And an increase in footfall, also means an increase in takings, making you a target for criminals.

It is, of course, important to have cover at all times, but with the holiday season, it is vital. It is always a good idea to review what you have in place to be sure that you have all the right cover you need to provide protection for extra staff, stock and customers.

To help you, here is our list of 12 key areas you should consider and plan around to keep your clients, your team, your buildings and your contents as secure as possible over the seasonal period. We have had a bit of fun with it and based it around the song, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, and we don’t mind if you hum or sing along to the popular tune as you read.

The 12 Things I’ll Avoid this Christmas

Over this Christmas season, these things won’t happen to me
12 goods in transit thefts
11 electrical fires
10 pipes a bursting
Nine shop windows breaking
Eight people tripping
Seven stock increases
Six peoples’ safety
Five stolen goods
Four raiders ramming
Three fires blazing
Two stockroom mishaps, and
A £20 counterfeit note

12 Goods in transit theft

Thousands of pounds of stock can be stolen from your vehicle in just a few seconds. Be extra vigilant and work in pairs so that your vehicle is never left unattended. Keep items hidden where possible. Lock up your stock at all times, choose where you park carefully and never leave it in your vehicle overnight. Try not to carry too much high-value stock. Don’t be a victim for opportunists or be a crime target this festive season. For more tips on ways to help reduce the chances of you becoming a victim of goods in transit thieves, click here.

11 Electrical fires

Electrical items, including Christmas decorations or faulty electrical equipment, can cause fires. Be particularly careful if you have a Christmas tree with lights as this can easily overload sockets. It may be tempting to leave lights on for an extended period of time, so ensure your electrics can cope with the extra loads.

For more tips on how to avoid electrical fires in your business premises, click here.

10 Pipes a bursting

An escape of water is the term used to describe a leak in your premises. It could mean a burst pipe causing your business premises to flood and result in a lot of damage to the interior of your business as well as damaging stock. This can happen over colder months so make sure your staff are fully trained in the event of flooding, either by natural disaster or burst pipe. It would be best to consider buildings cover, stock and contents cover, and business interruption cover to protect your business in the event of your pipes bursting.

Nine shop windows breaking

Your shop front and window are some of your biggest assets for attracting customers. Any damage to your window can harm your reputation and your income as you may be forced to close for a period of time. Keep high-value stock items away from the window outside opening hours and ensure you have CCTV with a view of the windows in case you get broken into. Also to help prevent burglaries, install alarms. The Retail Mutual includes fixed glass and accidental damage cover as standard when you take out buildings cover with us.

Eight people tripping

During the peak trading season, you will be dealing with an increase in stock deliveries, so make sure you are careful to manage these effectively to minimize the risk of injury or potential claims. Don’t bury regular stock under seasonal stock, which could cause boxes to be left lying around, creating potential trip hazards. Avoid stacking boxes too high and clean and tidy as you go. Mop up any spillages as soon as they happen so they don’t become a slip hazard and place wet floor signs if there is a continued risk of someone slipping.

For more tips on dealing with seasonal stock and keeping your stockroom safe, click here and for ways to keep your retail premises safe to avoid slips and trips, click here.

Seven stock increases

Your level of stock may increase over the festive period, so be vigilant with managing your stockroom and also the higher levels of stock you have on your premises. The Retail Mutual automatically covers you for a 50% increase in stock during November and December, but if you are not sure if you are covered, it’s best to check with your provider.

Six people’s safety

We hope that you receive more than six customers in total into your shop this festive season, but we had to get it to fit with the song! 2020 will see restrictions on the number of people in-store at one time in line with social distancing guidelines; but with more people shopping at this time of year, you will need to limit the risk of injury to members of the public and of course, your staff. Ensure any hazards that could cause a trip or fall are removed. Public liability cover will protect you against any claims, and while it’s not mandatory for you to take it out, it can be very costly if you have a claim brought against you and could be catastrophic for your business.

Five stolen goods

Theft can be devastating for businesses and increased footfall in retail shops can result in an increase in crime. You also need to guard against employee theft, so installing CCTV cameras will help to identify the culprits if it occurs. At this time of year, manage your high-value stock and make sure your cover limit matches the stock you hold, or you might not be covered for the full amount if you have to make a claim.

Four rammers raiding

Buildings are particularly at risk from ram raiders during the Christmas period, potentially causing thousands of pounds’ worth of structural damage as well as loss of stock. You can take steps to prevent this type of crime by ensuring valuable equipment is out of sight and ensure security systems such as CCTV and intruder alarms are fitted. Specialist equipment such as sounders and strobes can also be installed, along with anti-ram bollards. Buildings cover is designed to protect and assist you in alleviating the costs should this happen to you.

Three fires blazing

Many fires are preventable, with the majority caused by a lack of care and attention. Faulty electrical appliances, faulty wiring and fuse box issues are the culprits when it comes to most fires. Check sockets and adaptors, fuses and wiring, and lighting and lamps. Test fire alarms regularly, install smoke detectors and ensure employees are trained in fire safety drills. Keep fire exits clear and have all fire-fighting equipment where it can be easily accessed. In the event of a fire, make sure you have the relevant stock and contents, buildings, or business interruption cover in place.

Two stockroom mishaps

With more stock at Christmas time, you will need to keep staff safe in the stockroom and all other areas of your business premises. It’s advisable to try to avoid any employers’ liability claims. Employers’ liability insurance may cover you if an employee makes a claim for a work-related illness or injury, for example, if they slip and injure themselves on a wet floor or fall over a box in the stock room.

And a £20 counterfeit note

The £20 note is the most common note in circulation, so you should be very wary of fake notes and fraudsters trying to use the counterfeits. The new £20 note was released on 20th February 2020 with a host of security features, so it’s important that your team are trained in checking the differences between the real and fake versions. We don’t want your business to be short-changed during the festive period.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all at The Retail Mutual.

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