The impact of Christmas thefts on small businesses

The run-up to Christmas often sees an influx of customers going to stores in the hunt for the perfect gift, but this can lead to issues for the businesses concerned.


Security firm The Shield Group have suggested the period is a double-edged sword for retailers as thefts and security problems increase drastically.


Overcrowded shop floors can provide the perfect cover for shop lifters and such actions can have a drastic impact on businesses. Thieves steal an average of £37.04 per family in the run up to 25 December while there is far more to it than just financial loss.


Any staff who are threatened to subjected to physical violence also have to deal with the psychological effects of these actions.


While larger stores are most commonly affected due to the wide array of goods they stock – such as tablets, games consoles, designer clothing and jewellery – smaller shops can also be hit hard.


Thieves often approach smaller shops as they see them as being more vulnerable, with those that stock alcohol, Christmas decorations and food specially targeted.


In many instances, the prospect of financial gain is all that is required and security staff can struggle to manage the situation when large crowds are present.


But it isn’t just a threat from external thieves that causes problems; the run-up to Christmas sees a rise in employee theft too.


In 2013, this type of theft cost the UK economy more than £300 million and occurs primarily because more temporary staff are hired to cover the holiday rush.


People applying for temporary positions at this time of year were found to be more likely to lie on their CVs with a third of documents checked revealing inaccuracies or discrepancies.


Security is key around the Christmas period for several reasons but the primary concern relates to the safety of staff and avoiding financial losses.


For smaller stores especially, large scale losses of goods can badly disrupt business as suppliers still require payment for goods even if they are not actually sold.


While insurance can cover some of these instances, businesses that find themselves in severe financial trouble should seek insolvency advice to help find the best solutions for them.


By Phil Smith


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