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Small retailers fail to prepare for Christmas upsets

Nearly half of all indies have failed to prepare for unexpected disruptions to their key Christmas trading period.

According to a survey of 100 small retailers found that 47% were unprepared for bad weather - despite two-thirds saying they were worried about its impact on their business.

The study, carried out by insurance company RSA, suggests almost a quarter of indies have not updated their business continuity plans since last Christmas, with a further quarter admitting they had no plan at all. Business continuity plans detail what to do in an emergency, so that each member of the team knows what practical action they should take.

Yet 31% of respondents said they were relying on the Christmas period to boost trade following subdued summer sales.

“SMEs in the retail sector have been planning all year for a Christmas sales boost, and many are reliant on it for survival, but failing to prepare for business interruption could quickly undo all their hard work,” said Tara Kneafsey, RSA’s director of SMEs.

Readers' comments (5)

  • 'Business Continuity Plans?' What does that mean? Talk about a survey for the sake of a survey about nothing. If you can open, you open. If you can't, you can't. You cannot change the weather. Even Insurance companies can't do that. If only.

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  • How on earth can you accurately forecast for events that are completely beyond your control? Sit down with a calender and think "hmm I've got a feeling there's going to be a blizzard during this week, better plan for reduced sales!". Why not try and take into account somebody plowing into your shop in a 4x4 whilst you're at it!

    This report is completely ridiculous.

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  • darren hoggett

    This has to be the most pointless article that I have read in Drapers or any other publication. Was there anyone in the office who thought, 'hang on, this is complete rubbish?'

    It is completely worthless. Remove it!

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  • Hi all,
    Thanks for your comments.
    I've updated the article to make it clearer what a business continuity plan is - hope it makes more sense now.
    And I do take on board your other points, but I think we all know bad weather comes far more often than perhaps any of us prepare for.
    All best,
    Catherine - News Editor

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  • I have only read the updated article (re; comment above) but I would bet a big whack that this was written by someone who has never, ever run a shop in their life. In fact, it seems to be written from a wholly academic viewpoint by someone who can sit indoors and type out rhetoric ( and get paid handsomely) as their job whatever the weather.
    Just one question.......I recall (after 20 years of running shops) that when it snowd/rained/ etc there wasn't a lot one could do if the trains/roads were f***ed.....what has changed? Now as an online retailer, same applies. If the courier can't get to us, they can't collect and we can't deliver the goods.
    I imagine the gurus word of choice is 'Contingency'.........easy advice. Have contingency £££ in case it snows for a month...simple advice Consultancy-Land but easier written than done.

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