Riot impact on retail revealed

Retailers lost more than 7,500 hours of trading and 11,000 members of their staff were affected by the violence caused by riots two weeks ago.

The study, carried out by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), is being submitted to the relevant police forces to contribute to their impact assessments, which will be used in the trials of alleged offenders.

The BRC also gathered anecdotal evidence of the impact on retail staff.

Comments include: ‘Some staff were extremely frightened by events; a few have indicated that they will be considering their careers in retail’, ‘There was fear of coming to work and not being able to get to work’, ‘Two colleagues were mugged and assaulted on their way home’, and ‘Colleagues were in store when looters hit.’

The BRC says this evidence is a reminder that attacks on retailers are not victimless. Thousands of people who were just doing their jobs were subjected to verbal and even physical assault and now feel vulnerable at work.

British Retail Consortium Director of Business, Tom Ironside says, ‘The thousands of people who work in shops have been the forgotten victims of the riots. The scenes of violence and looting which broke out two weeks ago were frightening even for the majority of us who were watching them on television or reading about them in the papers. To have been in a shop as it was attacked or set on fire must have been terrifying.

‘Strong punishments are appropriate for the perpetrators of this violence to reassure the three million people who work in the retail sector that their safety is taken seriously. It’s sad to hear of retail staff reconsidering their career choice because they feel vulnerable at work.’

Ironside adds that a strong message must go out that the retail sector, and those who work in it, ‘will be protected’.

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