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“This wasn’t ideologic. This was pure thuggery.”

As retailers come to terms with the shocking events of last night in Dublin, what can be done to protect businesses in the future..?

Irish police have arrested 34 people after rioting caused “huge destruction” in Dublin city centre last night.

Rioters destroyed 11 police vehicles. Thirteen shops were badly damaged, and more were looted during the clashes with police. Three buses and a tram were also destroyed. And several police officers were injured during over three hours of sustained rioting.
Today BBC reporter in Dublin, Aoife Moore, reports that quiet has now fallen over the city, but the violence went on into the early hours. She writes:

“As somebody who lives in Dublin, I’ve never seen anything like this. People are genuinely on edge; businesses are closed today, and buses and the Luas tram aren’t running fully. I don’t think Dublin has had a night like this in decades… [last night]I saw a small store on Abbey Street being looted – this wasn’t ideologic. This was pure thuggery.”

These riots mirror what happened in France at the beginning of the year. Civil unrest leads to shops being looted and then destroyed. There is no logic to it, but there is a pattern.

In the wake of such attacks, retailers are already finding out that security companies cannot cope. There is a shortage of guards during normal times. When this sort of emergency happens the lack of elasticity of supply is highlighted. Consequently, there are just not enough guards to go around.

This type of trouble has happened before. And it will happen again. So, what is the solution?

Smoke screen has been used in these scenarios with great success. There is no more cost effective measure to prevent or mitigate this kind of criminal activity and business disruption.

I am not being opportunistic here. However, whilst the enormity of these events is still uppermost in people’s minds, I think it is important to make the point.

The costs to some businesses in Dublin will run into hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pounds. Yet fog cannons set up to trigger on the first break in would make the store interior completely impenetrable within seconds. And the cost of such protection is just £5-10K!

There is no doubt in my mind that Smoke Screen wouldn’t have had at the very least dramatically mitigated the damaging impact of losses caused during the looting and riots that occurred in Dublin last night…

Thieves cannot steal what they can’t see. And they are not going into a building where there is no chance of a successful theft. A building full of smoke is simply not an attractive target. So, looters simply move on to another, softer target.

I hope that if something good can come out of the terrible events in Dublin, it will be a reappraisal of the way in which city centre looting can be ended and the rule of law upheld with this existing technology.

These attacks cannot be predicted so the only sensible thing to do is to be prepared.

Matt Gilmartin
Managing Director
Concept Smoke Screen

Vix Vizion joins Sensormatic as title sponsors of the all new Retail Risk – Auckland ‘24 conference

Make sure to block out your diary for this new event, 6th March 2024…

Find out more…

The Retail Risk Podcast – sponsored by All-Tag

Paul Bessant talks to…

Lisa Baskott, Founder and CEO of 2nd Line of Defence, Board Director of The Safer Business Network & Board Member, Security Skills Board

To access this interview click HERE

Remember Retail Risk – Leicester ’23? Check out this new, brilliant highlights page!

And be sure to save the date for Retail Risk – Leicester and the Fraud Awards ’24…

See the highlights…



Vaultinum launches Timestamping – a solution enhancing promotional price transparency for e-commerce

The company’s new tool aims to support consumer protection, especially in the face of abuses during times of mass online shopping, such as Black Friday…

Vaultinum, a leading provider of technology due diligence and audit solutions, has announced the launch of a certified Timestamping offer, enabling the creation of traceable digital proofs. Among other uses, Vaultinum’s Timestamping solution will enable companies to demonstrate their compliance with the EU Omnibus Directive (28/05/2022), promoting price transparency and fair consumer practices.

The Christmas shopping season kicks off at the end of November with the Black Friday promotions, where discount scams are becoming commonplace. It is well known that most Black Friday promotions are misleading, and that in most cases product discounts tend to be inflated. In other words, most of the offers still don’t comply with European trade regulations, which state that the reference price must be clearly displayed and that the discount must be calculated on the cheapest price of a product in the last 30 days.

To address this critical issue, Vaultinum is launching its powerful Timestamping tool, to help companies prove that their promotional pricing information is accurate, reliable and complies with regulations such as the EU Omnibus Directive. This directive significantly increases the penalties associated with misleading promotions, fake reviews and aggressive door-to-door selling, in order to strengthen consumer protection, especially for those who shop online.

The Directive provides for heavy fines and even imprisonment for companies that do not ensure strict compliance. The fine reaches 75,000 euros for companies and in the case of large-scale, repeat breaches, the fine can even be as high as 4% of the company’s average annual turnover. In July 2023 the company Showroomprive was fined 600,000 euros for fake promotions by the French controlling authority (DGCCRF).

Easy to implement and use
Vaultinum Timestamping is designed to handle large volumes of data, using a machine-to-machine API that automates the timestamping process. Vaultinum’s solution offers a single interface, a Rest API and an online sandbox to enable any client platform to connect seamlessly to its timestamping platform. The Vaultinum solution complies with the RFC3161 timestamping protocol, thus offering high levels of performance and security.

In an era marked by digital advances and rapid technological innovation, ensuring transparency and accountability in markets is critical. Governments and regulators around the world strive to maintain fair and efficient market conditions.

“In this context, Timestamping emerges as an effective tool to demonstrate traceability and compliance. The tool records the date and time of an event in a secure way, providing an unalterable record that companies can use as undisputable proof in case of controls or litigations,” explains Josh Nunn, Vaultinum’s Managing Director for the United Kingdom. “During sales periods such as Black Friday, companies that timestamp their reference prices and discounts can easily prove that they comply with local regulation on price transparency.”

Ensuring price compliance and wider traceability
Another of Vaultinum’s Timestamping’s qualities is its versatility of use. As well as being used by promotional websites that need to demonstrate that discounts are real and comply with consumer transparency regulations, Timestamping can be used by lawyers, legal officers, finance managers and supply chain managers for traceability needs such as:

  • supply chain traceability: Timestamping records and timestamps product information at every stage of the supply chain allowing businesses to trace products all the way from their origin to their final destination, capturing critical information along the way. This enables companies to address a range of challenges, such as product recall, quality control, ethical sourcing and regulatory compliance.
  • providing evidence of an event: Timestamping helps prove that an event occurred on a specific date and time in order to win a case, whether it is damage to a person or property, accident, infringement, etc.
  • ensure compliance and audit readiness with time stamping: Timestamping is the best way to ensure compliance of digital documents such as invoices, payroll, financial transactions, legal documents, etc.

About Vaultinum
Vaultinum is a European trusted third party, that offers solutions to protect innovations and investments. For more information, please visit:


Optimism on our high streets with 89% of small retailers’ confident of growth

American Express research reveals positive outlook from independent retailers and plans to capitalise on the festive season… 

Despite ongoing challenges, small and independent retailers are looking ahead to next year positively, with expectations of business growth rising significantly among 59% of those surveyed in 2022 to 89% in 2023.

The annual survey of independent retail and hospitality business owners, on behalf of American Express and Small Business Saturday, explores current business confidence, priorities and sentiment.

While growth expectations rose 30pp year-on-year, respondents identified a range of ongoing challenges in running their business, chiefly the rising cost of goods and services (31%) and energy costs (30%). However, almost half of small business owners (48%) said they are ‘excited’ and 45% ‘confident’ about the next six months, showing that these challenges aren’t dampening their ambition and enthusiasm.

American Express is founder and principal supporter of Small Business Saturday, which takes place on 2nd December this year. Small Business Saturday is the UK’s most successful small business campaign engaging millions of shoppers every year; in 2022, shoppers spent an estimated £774m in small businesses nationwide on Small Business Saturday.

The research shows businesses plan to innovate with a number of revenue-boosting tactics to make the most of the coming festive season; with 86% stating that the festive period is a vital revenue driver for their business.

When asked what they might do differently this year compared to 2022, nearly half (49%) are creating in-store events to drive customer footfall, while a similar number (48%) are introducing exclusive products or services just for the festive period. The research also revealed a strong fraternity among likeminded business owners; just over half (51%) plan to collaborate with other businesses this year to help drive footfall. 

Dan Edelman, General Manager, UK Merchant Services at American Express, said: “It’s clear that many independent businesses are not just holding their ground in the face of ongoing challenges, but are looking ahead with determination and optimism – ready to make the most of the upcoming festive period. We’re proud to support more merchants than ever before through our Shop Small campaign, as well as through our long-standing support of Small Business Saturday.”

Michelle Ovens, Director of Small Business Saturday UK, added: “Small businesses definitely need a boost this winter, after sustaining so many years of challenges. With over fourth fifths relying on the festive peak season to carry them through, it’s vital that the nation throws its weight behind all our favourite small firms up and down the country on Small Business Saturday and beyond. We need to back them as much as possible – they make our communities, our lives and our economy so much richer – and we need to help small businesses turn the seeds of optimism this winter into flourishing growth in the new year.”

Shop Small for Winter 2023 

American Express continues its long-standing backing of small businesses through its flagship Shop Small campaign, which encourages American Express’ loyal Cardmembers to spend instore with small businesses.

To further back small businesses this year, American Express has partnered with TikTok to run a series of targeted sessions designed to help small business owners reach and connect with more customers through using the social media platform.

NCC Group set to secure Retail success during peak trading periods with their Incident Response Services offer

The approaching peak trading season can present retail businesses and their supply chain with increased pressure and the threat of a major cyber-attack

NCC Group recognise the great opportunity that peak trading season presents retail businesses and their supply chain, with events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Festive sales driving demand from October through till January.

It’s when sales surge, in turn adding increased pressure on warehousing and supply operations. Retailers may have stress tested lots of scenarios but how prepared are they for the disruption from a major cyber-attack?

When Operational Technology (OT) or IT suddenly comes to a standstill, or networks and systems are under attack, a cyber incident will have a huge impact on an organisation and supply chain in terms of cost, downtime/productivity, revenue and, perhaps most importantly for retailers, damage to consumer trust and brand reputation.

Safeguarding Retail operations and customers

NCC Group’s 24/7 Cyber Incident Response Offer is designed to provide the retail sector with a dedicated Incident Response service*, to help safeguard operations and profits through the upcoming peak trading season.

Follow the link below to complete the enquiry form and access the following:

  • Free 1 hour Incident Response workshop to assess priority weaknesses and requirements.
  • Discounted levels of proactive readiness services to upskill and prepare your business – including Incident Simulations, Tooling Reviews and First Responder Training
  • Free 4-month bronze level SLA Retainer included for guaranteed, 24/7 access to Cyber Incident Response expertise

*valid between October 2023 and end of January 2024

To access the enquiry form click HERE…

GUEST ARTICLE (This made our editor chuckle…)

Intrepid’s Noel, Terry Venables and an ex-footballer attempt a citizen’s arrest

Inspired by the Police Minister’s call for the public to help enforce the law where they see crime happening…

I can’t honestly remember where or when I met Terry Venables. I suppose it must have been when we were quite young.

I think Terry grew up not far from where I lived, so we had that in common. Funnily enough I have never been that interested in football. But of course everyone, even if they are not football fans, knows Terry from his days as the England Manager. He is very recognisable.

Somehow, we found ourselves parked up in Tesco’s car park in my old Austin Maestro. I’d bought that van when I first decided to start Intrepid all those years ago. I used to go charging around the country in the early days.

EAS was new back then and demand huge. Obviously, we travelled a lot. I spent hours and hours in that van travelling, or even sometimes sleeping in it if I wanted to get to a job early to be sure not to be late. Customer service has always been at the heart of what we do… Throughout Intrepid’s history, once we have a client we very, very rarely lose them. I’m proud of that…

Anyway, Terry and I are starving. We want some lunch. And somehow, I get the job of going into the supermarket to get it (plus some extra sandwiches for Vinnie Jones, the ex-Wimbledon FC player and hard man of football turned Hollywood celeb. Terry says he’s driving over to meet us!). So off I go to get some sandwiches and snacks.

On entering the store, I wander towards the lunch aisle. Realising I don’t actually know what either Terry – or Vinnie for that matter – like to eat, I decide to go for some ham and mustard, cheese and pickle, and chicken and bacon sandwiches. Add a couple of prepacked snack pies, some crisps and that’s it – lunch sorted. Then I think I should get some drinks… non-alcoholic beers, I think. So off I trot, towards wines and spirits.

Passing by the spirits shelves I see this young woman acting suspiciously – checking around all the time to see if she is being watched. She has long dark hair and is wearing a short denim jacket.

Despite her jacket fitting quite snugly, the woman takes a full size bottle of Glenfiddich and puts it in her inside jacket pocket. Then she takes another and puts it in her other inside pocket! Then I watch her move on to the wine section, where she puts another full bottle of wine in each of her capacious inside pockets. Incredibly there is no perceptible bulge at all, leaving me wondering how it’s possible to conceal all that drink with nothing looking out of place!

Suddenly I feel the presence of someone looking over my shoulder. It’s Terry. “Blimey!” I say, “What are you doing here?”

“I just came in to tell you that Vinnie says he fancies a bit of quiche. What are you doing?”

“I’ve been watching that woman, over there. She’s nicking bottles of booze. I think we should stop her.”

Terry surprises me with his response. “Well mate, I happen to know that you can only make a citizen’s arrest for an indictable offence. And Section 176 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 makes theft from a shop, of goods worth £200 or less, a summary-only offence.”

Taken aback by his erudite statement, I surprise myself with my reply. “That’s right, Tel. But remember that the legislation also makes provision to ensure that certain powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, which only apply to indictable offences, will continue to be available in cases of summary-only shop theft. And that includes the right for shop staff, or indeed us, to make a citizen’s arrest where the police are not present to do so and where it is reasonably thought that a theft is about to take place.”

“Game on!” says Terry, and together we walk briskly towards the shoplifter.

“Oi!” I shout. “We’ve been watching you. And you have just nicked four bottles of booze. Either put it back, or I am making a citizen’s arrest.”

As we approach, she turns on us. “What are you going to do about it – OLD MAN?”

“How dare you speak to my friend like that,” I say.

I pull out my Club Card holding it up as a means of identification – just like the cops do in the movies. “I have reason to believe that you are attempting to steal alcohol from this shop, and I am making a citizen’s arrest.”

She laughs mockingly and turns on her heels to walk away.

Then comes a rasping voice with the deepest of South London inflexions. “Oi! You! Stop where you are! Don’t you ignore my mates, or I’ll have something to say about it.” It’s Vinnie…

“Vinnie!” I’m so relieved to see him.

“What are you doing here?”

“I came in to check Venables told you to get some quiche…”

Suddenly I hear an alarm go off. It is familiar and persistent. Has the shop set off an alarm? Have the police arrived.? What’s happening?
And then I come to. The alarm is my phone, set to wake me from slumber .

You see like the Police Minister, Chris Philp, who in a recent statement urged members of the public to make citizen’s arrests where they see crime happening, I was dreaming too!

Shoppers want sustainable returns, but convenience comes first

73% of shoppers are willing to pay for environmentally friendly returns, but flexibility and convenience are still the top priorities for consumer returns…

Consumers are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their shopping and are willing to pay for it, new research from returns specialist, ReBound, shows.

Nearly three quarters of shoppers (73%) are prepared to pay extra for their returns to be environmentally friendly, but flexibility and convenience is still the number one priority.

According to the survey conducted by ReBound and Pollfish, 76% of consumers say they intend to shop more with retailers that offer environmentally friendly products and services, while 74% said they would use a postal service to donate unwanted clothing to charity, if it was offered by a retailer.

Not at the cost of convenience

However, despite the increase in consumers prepared to pay for sustainable returns (up from 47% last year), the majority of shoppers (67%) would still choose a time delay over a financial cost (41% would rather wait for the pick-up, 26% would rather wait for the refund), reflecting the tough economic conditions people are facing. Moreover, while many would find small payments palatable, just 13% of shoppers would be happy to pay £2.50 or more for sustainable returns.

Finding the right balance

While retailers are mostly eager to support sustainability in the returns process, there is a delicate balance between going green and meeting business needs. In addition to surveying consumers, ReBound also spoke to retailers and brands about their sustainable practices. Most (59%) claimed they were prepared to slow down the return parcels if it meant they were handled more sustainably, but just 17% of those surveyed were willing to wait a week to get products back in their warehouses.

However, almost two thirds of retailers we spoke to didn’t track returns emissions as part of their environmental reporting. With returns rates reaching as much as 70% in some product verticals, this points to a large volume of emissions being ignored. As consumer interest in sustainability inevitably grows, this is something retailers will have to rectify sooner rather than later.

Emily McGill, Sustainability Communications Manager at ReBound, said:

“It comes as no surprise that consumers are increasingly focused on the sustainability of the brands they shop with, but it is great to see that there is a growing recognition that achieving environmentally friendly solutions may come at a cost.
“While environmental consciousness is evidently on the rise, retailers looking to implement more green strategies must keep in mind that convenience is still the number one priority. As shoppers increasingly turn to these sustainable options, retailers that have already put the work and investment in will be at a huge advantage. The trend towards sustainability is already well under way and brands that are able to offer and demonstrate their environmental credentials will undoubtedly be in a stronger position.”


Online retailers brace for UK product safety reform: What you need to know

New UK product safety regime aims to stop unsafe items from making their way to UK buyers from online retailers…

The UK’s appetite for buying online is the highest in Europe, with more than a quarter of retail sales now made through the internet. Whilst this presents an opportunity for small businesses to grow, ensuring the quality and safety of products sourced from overseas suppliers – particularly electrical items – has brought new challenges.

For example, last month the London Fire Brigade reported that e-bikes have become the capital’s fastest growing fire trend, with cheap batteries purchased from online sources to blame for an increasing number of blazes.

To address this, in August 2023, the government published its proposals for reform of the UK product safety regime with the aim to stop unsafe items from making their way to UK buyers from online retailers.

In this article, Rob Rees, Divisional Director of Markel Direct, breaks down the proposal and gives guidance on what online retailers can be doing right now to safeguard themselves against potential disruption caused by the reform.

What is being proposed in the reform of the UK product safety regime?
The aim of the reform is to introduce steps which ensure that products bought online are as safe as those bought on the high street.

Some of the proposed steps include:

  • For higher risk products, increase consumer-facing information on online product listings to support informed purchasing decisions. This information required on listings could include: warnings to consumers, a clear and prominent indication of whether the product has been listed by a third-party seller (alongside additional information, such as the name and contact address of the seller), details of what checks (if any) have been carried out on the product or seller and key product safety information which is already on the product, its packaging or its accompanying documents. The government has not yet confirmed which products will be deemed higher risk, but electrical equipment, cosmetics, toys, gas appliances and safety equipment are likely to be in scope.
  • Online marketplaces (such as Amazon and eBay) would have duties to cooperate with enforcement authorities to provide information and take appropriate actions if products are unsafe or non-compliant. An additional duty could be that marketplaces must have a compliance function established in the UK which is responsible for ensuring appropriate policies, processes and systems are in place to address the availability of unsafe products.
  • Online marketplaces would also be responsible for collecting (and taking reasonable steps to verify) information about third-party sellers for high-risk products. This would involve carrying out targeted monitoring and scrutiny of relevant product listings with a view to addressing listings which reasonably look like they could be advertising non-compliant or unsafe products. As well as consulting sources such as the UK Government Product Recalls and Alerts page, using this information to monitor their marketplaces for products which reasonably look to be an identical or very similar product, and when required, taking appropriate action.
  • Mandatory incident reporting in the UK for product-related incidents, predominantly those resulting in deaths, injuries requiring an overnight stay in hospital, or fires.

What could the new legislation mean for online retailers?

Stricter requirements for selling high risk items

The legislation aims to introduce new measures to determine the safety of a product being sold. This will mean that the requirements for selling high risk items will get stricter and therefore the possibility of having these products removed for non-compliance will be higher too.It is being proposed that the legislation moves more radically towards a different cross-cutting framework categorising products by hazards and risk levels, with requirements applying according to risk level. This means that if an online retailer sells high risk items, they will need to ensure their listings meet the compliance requirements to be available for purchase.

A reduction in non-compliant, overseas sellers

Online marketplaces bring in a lot of products sold by third-party sellers, many of which are based overseas. This type of seller usually can offer items at a lower price which makes the listings attractive to UK consumers over the local retailers. However, as there is often no responsible economic operator in the UK, it makes any investigation and corrective action difficult when an unsafe product is sold or causes an issue. This results in the re-listing of dangerous products time and time again.The proposal looks to reduce this number of non-compliant overseas sellers to not only improve safety, but also to make the market fairer by lessening the number of sellers who are undercutting price. One way this could be addressed, according to the proposal, is to ensure online marketplaces are duty-bound to have a compliance function established in the UK.

New, or stricter, insurance requirements by online retailers

Selling platforms, such as Amazon, already require some sellers to hold a minimum level of insurance cover. However, as online marketplaces are expected to bear increased accountability for the sale of safe products under the regime, they may introduce stricter insurance requirements for sellers, which could include additional covers or higher limits of cover. This would enable online marketplaces to mitigate their risk, as it would enable them to pursue the seller through legal channels in the event of a claim by a consumer.

Four things online retailers can do now to prepare

There are positive proactive steps you can take to ensure there is as little disruption as possible to your livelihood. Here are some actionable steps that will help safeguard your online retail business from the proposed changes.

  1. Conduct a thorough audit of suppliers and/ or products 
    If you are a third-party seller of products then getting ahead of this legislation is the best way to reduce the impact it will have on your retail business. Conducting a thorough audit of the suppliers of the products you sell and/or the products themselves is the best way to ensure that any products that could be deemed as “high risk” meet the UK safety requirements already in place.
    Pay attention to the Government recall website and take extra care to check any products similar to those that have been recalled. You should also ensure that you have a system in place for recalls should they occur with any of the products you sell.
  2. Make sure product listings are detailed with safety in mind
    Typically, only basic safety information is required for an online product listing as more detailed information is on the product packaging itself. The proposal suggests that all safety information for high-risk items is included in the product listings. To save a huge admin job later, be sure to update any high-risk product listing descriptions with the full safety information. Any information that would support informed purchasing decisions will give the item a better chance of meeting compliance requirements.
    Information could include: 
    • Warnings to consumers about the potential risks a product has, such as being a choking hazard or overheating. 
    • Key product safety information which is already on the product, packaging, or accompanying documents, such as age limits, storage instructions and advice on use.
  3. Ensure you have insurance in place
    Should the worst happen and a product you have sold causes harm or damage, you will need to ensure you have public and product liability insurance  in place to protect you from costly claims. Product liability insurance provides coverage for tangible products that you sell, manufacture, or distribute. This coverage comes into play when a customer makes a claim due to injury or damage caused by these products.
    Some online marketplaces make this insurance a necessity if you wish to use their platform to sell on. For example, Amazon currently requires a limit of at least £400,000 on its UK website for public liability, and products liability if you sell more than £4,000 worth of goods through ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ as stated on their Seller Central Hub.
  4. Check your policy to make sure it includes an indemnity to selling platforms
    If applicable to your business model, make sure that your insurance policy includes a provision that names the selling platform (like Amazon) as a co-insured, or includes an indemnity to selling platform clause.
    If selling on Amazon, then it is in their seller’s agreement that your insurance policy names Amazon as an additional insured party. However, it’s important to note that such coverage is typically not included in standard insurance policies, so individuals or businesses may need to request this specific provision to ensure they are in compliance with Amazon’s terms and conditions. At Markel Direct, our product liability insurance for online retailers includes an indemnity to selling platforms as standard.

The proposed changes to the UK product safety regime will be a positive step for those buying online and establishing trust with online retailers. However, it does mean that more effort will be required by retailers to ensure their business is not negatively impacted. The sooner this happens the better. The consultation for this proposal closed October 24th 2023, the next stage involves the consideration of all responses from the feedback period before publishing the Government Response.

For more information and advice on insurance options as an online retailer, visit the Markel Direct website HERE…

UK pureplay fashion label Sosandar to launch in Australia

Fashion retailer has signed deals to expand its e-commerce operations in these countries…

Sosandar is seeking to begin selling online in Australia and Canada in the fourth quarter of the current fiscal year, ending March 31. It will also open its first physical store in the UK imminently.

“We are extremely excited about the next stage of our growth journey,” Sosandar co-CEOs Ali Hall and Julie Lavington told Retail Gazette. “Our decision to open our own stores is the logical next step as we look to offer our customers more ways to engage and shop with Sosandar.”

Sosandar will also open its first physical stores in the UK in the spring of next year. The retailer forecasts revenue to increase 10% year over year to £46.8M in ‘24 and to remain profitable during the transition period, despite a loss in the first half of the year.

“We know that the added value of being able to touch and feel our clothes will appeal to our target customers. With a clear roll-out plan in place and strict criteria around the location of potential stores, we are confident that our stores will enable us to accelerate our market share and increase the awareness of our brand,” said Hall and Lavington.


Does security in your shop need to show off?

Is it better to have a big, scary security system to bare its teeth on potential thieves, or to catch them by surprise..?

When was the last time you had someone check the locks in your store? And by that, I mean really check the locks?

We are not just asking about whether the key has been turned and your shop feels safe, but instead, we are asking about how long it has been since you have inspected your security system.

Many businesses expand suddenly when they experience fast-paced success, but it is much rarer for that same business to ensure that their physical security is expanding at the same rate.

This is a problem long-established physical security company, Tindall Engineering, noticed when a major electrical superstore got in touch and asked if they could do anything to stop the constant break-ins that were undermining their success.

The cause? Easily breached rear escape doors concealed from public view, allowing the criminals to work in isolation and without the risk of being caught in the act.

Time and again, retailers prioritise security over life safety, resorting to blocking or barricading an emergency exit in an effort to prevent criminals from easily escaping. By doing this, retailers inadvertently jeopardise the safety of both their customers and employees in the event of a fire or other emergency.

The real tragedy? It did not have to be that way.

Working with a company like Tindall Engineering retailers can install aesthetically appealing, life safety and security compliant locking solutions. The locks also come with anti-tampering features such as deadlocking panic bars to prevent the risk of phishing, as well as the option to add maglocks for time delayed egress to slow down the escape of a criminal.

Their variety of single and multi-point locks, offer robust best-in-class security systems at a range of levels, suitable for the commercial and utilities sectors up to secure government buildings.  Complete with a vast choice of operations and functions, you can find a bespoke solution which meets your requirements without compromising on the aesthetic or security of your building.

In fact, there is a question to ask about whether it’s better to have a subtle security system that catches a burglar off-guard, leaves them unprepared and forces them away from a store, or whether it is better to bring out the big bars, anti-ram defences and gigantic complex locks.

Investing in physical security systems tailored to your store, that work with your other building management systems and are as discreet or intimidating as you want them to be, can help reduce self-insurance spend, as it becomes orders of magnitude harder for a burglar to break in.

It does not have to involve large bars, padlocks or chains; there are far better security systems underneath the surface that keep your store looking fantastic.

To see where this commitment can take you, visit MICO – Tindall Engineering – High Security Locking Solutions


How developed HR systems are helping mental health flourish in the workplace

One in four are now struggling with a mental health disorder, placing a considerable strain on the nation’s workforce

According to the latest statistics, The UK reportedly loses 17 million work days per year to stress and anxiety, meaning offering appropriate mental health support to employees is paramount.

New technologies can help facilitate this, improving communication between organisation and employee and empowering employees to voice their concerns and seek assistance.

Caroline Gleeson, CEO at Occupop, experts in recruitment software, explain how developed HR systems are helping mental health flourish in the workplace.

Lead the conversation
The first thing a company can do to gauge employee mental health is to run an online wellness survey that can be distributed via email. This can help you to collect valuable insights and take the pulse of employee wellbeing in a non-invasive way.

This creates an environment where individuals feel more comfortable discussing their emotions and how they may be affected during day-to-day working life.

The results can then inform an effective wellbeing programme – should you choose to employ one – which can create a culture that promotes a healthy work-life balance.

Can tweaks to flexible schedules or the option to buy more annual leave engender a better, more productive mindset?

Consider virtual events
Further encourage open dialogue by hosting virtual events such as webinars on stress management, work-life balance, mindfulness, sleep, and self-care.
Build these around landmark days in the working calendar – think world mental health weeks and kindness awareness days – and invite experts like psychologists or HR professionals to speak to your team about the importance of looking after one’s mental health.

Improved communication and collaboration
Using digital tools can help employees feel more integrated with their company and makes organising their workloads easier.
Video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, for instance, allow employees to connect from remote locations, which can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.

This can be complemented by instant messaging apps like Slack and Discord, allowing employees to communicate easily and effectively, meaning any sticking points can be resolved quickly.

Also, consider using project management tools such as Asana and Trello, which can help employees better manage their workload and understand what stage a task is at.

Digital mental health resources
When employees aren’t engaging in meaningful conversations, technology can provide access to mental health resources – making them readily available around the clock.

This can include mobile apps, online learning portals, self-care advice and virtual therapy sessions, which can act as a stopgap while waiting on professional counselling.

These resources may include a range of services like self-help tools, guided meditations, diet and exercise programmes and stress management techniques which enable employees to prioritise mental health.

By leveraging these new technologies, companies can actively foster a culture of empathy, understanding, and proactive wellbeing.

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