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BRC snapshot survey reveals 900 stores targeted in riots

Over 7,500 hours of trading lost and more than 11,000 members of staff were affected by the violence.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

BRC snapshot survey reveals 900 stores targeted in riots

The sample was made up of British Retail Consortium (BRC) members responsible for a total of 27 per cent of UK retail sales. The damage to the sector as a whole will therefore be considerably higher.

The research, carried out by the 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. It also gathered anecdotal evidence of the impact on retail staff.

Comments from the survey included:

"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. Colleagues were in store when looters hit."

"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."

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, said: "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.

"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."

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