By Gemma Taylor - The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed evidence gathered from a survey of its members, detailing how nearly 900 retail stores and even more staff were affected by the UK riots.
The snapshot survey was made up of BRC members responsible for a total of 27 per cent of UK retail sales, meaning that the damage to the sector as a whole will be even greater.
Findings from the group’s survey will be submitted to police throughout the country to be used as anecdotal evidence for impact statements in trials of perpetrators, in order for juries to further understand the extent of harm done to the retail sector.
Retailers lost over 7,500 hours of trading and more than 11,000 members of their staff were affected by the violence as stores were either looted, damaged or set alight.
The industry body feels that these results will remind the public that retailers are victims and that attacks have affected staff members on a wide scale, pointing to comments they received from respondents. One said: “Some staff were caught still in one of the stores when it was broken into and had to escape through the rear – an extremely frightening experience.”
It is feared that the violence will deter others from looking for work in the retail sector, and BRC Director of Business Tom Ironside expressed sadness that recent events have led staff to feel vulnerable at work.
“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,” he remarked.
“It’s sad to hear of retail staff reconsidering their career choice because they feel vulnerable at work.”
Since the wave of violence and looting that swept across the UK two weeks ago, causing an estimated £141 million worth of damage, the BRC has stood firmly behind retailers affected, calling on the government to implement emergency measures to aid repairs, prior to Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement of the Riot Relief Fund.
Ironside gave assurances that the BRC will continue to work with authorities to bring criminals to justice, saying: “The police have done a great job of finding those responsible for the rioting and have been a reassuring presence on our streets.
“As damaged buildings are repaired and streets return to normal, shop owners and their staff also need their confidence rebuilt. A strong message must go out that the retail sector, and those who work in it, will be protected.”