The retail industry is one of the largest sectors in the UK. It consists of over 300,000 separate businesses, employing over 3 million people and representing over 8% of all UK jobs. In 2019, retail sales in the UK were worth £439 billion – 5% of the UK’s GDP.

Despite online shipping becoming increasingly popular in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, in January 2022, only 25.3% of retail sales were done online which means that the majority of retailers are still doing most of their trade from physical outlets. Operating physical retail outlets presents an array of unique security challenges which require careful management in order to safeguard both your people and your products.

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Common Risks Within Retail:

Risk of shoplifting

Physical retail outlets are uniquely at risk of shoplifting. An analysis of 2019’s police data found that 359,156 shoplifting incidents were recorded in the UK – this is nearly 1,000 per day. Although considered ‘petty theft’ shoplifting still costs retailers £335 million a year in losses, yet shoplifters are only caught about once out of every 48 times they steal – just over 2% of the time.

Lone workers

Many small retail outlets are operated by only one member of staff at a time, and often at unsocial hours with low customer footfall. These lone workers are intrinsically vulnerable, whether to becoming the targets of violent crime and anti-social behaviour, or to suffering a medical emergency with no assistance nearby.

Risk of armed robbery

Armed robbery is another crime of which retailers at uniquely at risk. Not only does armed robbery often result in considerable financial losses – either from valuable products stolen from behind counters or large quantities of cash stolen from tills – it almost always results in significant trauma to staff and customers present during the incident, the effects of which are impossible to quantify. The risk of physical injury to staff and customers is also especially high.

Small outlets such as post-offices, convenience stores and petrol forecourts are the most likely to be robbed, but any retailer that:

  • Opens at night or at unsociable hours
  • Sells potentially addictive substances such as cigarettes and alcohol
  • Has few employees on duty at one time
  • Is more likely to trade in cash

Can easily become targets as well.

How the KST Group Can Help:

Surveillance cameras

Installing an effective surveillance system is the best way to both prevent shoplifting and robbery on retail premises, and maximise the chances of a successful conviction and subsequent recovery of items when shoplifting and robbery do occur. The presence of CCTV cameras can be an effective deterrent against crime as CCTV footage is one of the most common types of evidence used to identify the perpetrators and secure a conviction. CCTV cameras should be installed facing the front counter, behind the cash register and also in areas where a robber could potentially hide.


Lone worker devices

Evidence shows that outlets that are manned by a single employee, particularly during unsocial hours, are at greater risk of being targeted for robbery and shoplifting.  We are specialist suppliers of lone worker devices which are designed to support lone workers by providing discreet remote access to emergency services in the event of a robbery, or in the case of incapacitation or medical emergency whilst on shift.

Alarm systems

Intruder alarms and other integrated security solutions are vital to protecting your staff should your business become a victim of robbery. Intruder alarms will automatically call emergency services – they are also completely silent meaning they will not escalate the situation and further endanger staff/customers. Our innovative integrated security solutions – ranging from hold-up alarms, smoke-producing machines and smart water technology – are designed to deter and disrupt perpetrators even whilst a robbery is already in progress.