Bad weather panic as retailers prepare for Christmas

Two thirds of small retailers worry that bad weather will negatively impact their business during the festive season, research finds.


Two thirds of small retailers worry that bad weather will negatively impact their business during the festive season, research finds.

Two thirds of small retailers worry that bad weather will negatively impact their business during the festive season, research finds.

Following subdued summer sales, and despite almost a third (31 per cent) of those surveyed saying they are relying on Christmas to boost their annual takings, nearly half (47 per cent) of respondents admit they are not prepared to deal with interruptions to Christmas trading, according to insurer RSA.

Only 14 per cent feel more prepared this year than last year for business interruption, and almost one in four say they have no business continuity plan in place at all.

At the same time, small retailers appear more vulnerable to business continuity threats this year than last year, as a result of cost-cutting during what remains a tough trading climate.

A fifth (20 per cent) of the retailers surveyed say they have consolidated suppliers to cut costs this year, with a third (31 per cent) admitting to relying on just one or two key contractors.

Around half of retailers are also concerned about supplier deliveries (46 per cent) – likely as a result of their increased overreliance on just a handful of suppliers.

RSA SME director Tara Kneafsey says, ‘SMEs in the retail sector have been planning all year for a Christmas sales boost, and many are reliant on it for survival, but failing to prepare for business interruption could quickly undo all their hard work.

Adverse weather can bring businesses to a halt, with damaged property or stock leaving it unable to function, so crossing your fingers and hoping for the best is just not enough. The importance of putting in place practical preventative measures should therefore not be underestimated – for instance, an up-to-date business continuity plan can make or break your business in times of crisis.’

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