In his final blog as NFRN National President, Mike Mitchelson highlights the real impact retail crime is having on independent retailers – and what the NFRN are doing to combat this growing problem. 

Latest shocking statistics show that last year 83 per cent of shops owners and their staff were subject to verbal abuse.

In many cases, refusing sales of age restricted products – which we sell in greater quantities than ever – was the cause of this conflict.

No one working in retail should ever be threatened at work and that is why we have joined forces with the Home Office for a new campaign to encourage members to always report incidents of abuse in their shops, whether to 999 in an emergency, to 101, or anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 0800 5551111.

With the crime minister announcing a call for evidence on violence and abuse which is open until the end of this month I would also ask that as many of you as possible contribute and tell the government about your retail crime experiences and the impact it has had on you, your family and your staff.

As you would expect, the NFRN’s concerns about retail crime featured prominently in our 2019 Independent Retail Report which, as you will see from pages 20 and 25, was launched to MPs, peers and ministers at a Westminster reception last month.

At this important event, kindly hosted by MPs Laurence Robertson and David Hanson, we were able to share all the concerns facing independent retailers and the measures that our parliamentary representatives can take to assist. Besides retail crime, this year’s report calls for assistance in resolving the vagaries of the news industry, especially in the light of the CMA’s concerns about the practices of distributors and publishers. The negative impact that business rates, complex taxation and ever increasing operating costs have on members also features within our report but, more importantly, ways in which the government can help are documented.

Addressing parliamentarians at this reception was one of my last duties as your National President as in just a few days time, and having chaired Annual Conference, I will be handing the chain of office to my successor. To lead the NFRN in its centenary year has been an enormous privilege and honour. In its 100th year, I am immensely proud of the NFRN and of what it has achieved for the independent retail sector since 1919.

I know, too, that it will continue to fight for members and address the myriad issues confronting you in the months and years to come.

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