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    ‘Retailers scale back own Christmas celebrations as shoplifting dents businesses’

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    Small businesses are facing a plethora of challenges in the run up to Christmas and the recent surge in shoplifting across the UK is directly impacting independent retailers, a recent report has stated.

    According to a new research by small business insurance provider Simply Business, a fifth (21 per cent) of small business owners say they will have to scale back their families’ festive celebrations as a result of money being tight.

    Small businesses are facing a plethora of challenges in the run up to Christmas and the recent surge in shoplifting across the UK is directly impacting independent retailers  – half of small business owners (50 per cent) have reported shoplifting as a problem.

    The research found that over half (57 per cent) of respondents have lost over £250 to shoplifting this year alone, with almost a fifth (16 per cent) saying they have lost between £1,001-£5,000. Naturally, this can disproportionately impact smaller businesses who simply do not have the financial reserves to be able to just write this stock off.

    As a result, many small businesses have been forced to implement measures to prevent shoplifting, including: enhanced surveillance with CCTV cameras (34 per cent), increased staff presence and customer engagement (30 per cent) and joining forces with other local shops to spot and report a crime (20 per cent).

    The additional costs small businesses are facing as a result of shoplifting comes at a time when they are stretched more than ever.

    Recent findings from the Simply Business SME Insights Report found that over half (52 per cent) of SMEs anticipate a decrease in profits by up to 20 per cent by the end of 2023 versus the previous year. Over a quarter (27 per cent) are resorting to using personal savings to prop up their business amidst the challenges they are facing.

    Meanwhile, nearly a third (29 per cent) of businesses are seeking bank loans and 23 per cent are seeking a loan from family and friends to support their operations.

    Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, said, “Small businesses have been dealt a very challenging hand in 2023, with rising energy costs and business rates limiting growth opportunities for many.

    “The festive trading period is a lifeline for many small business owners – four in five stress how important it is to shop locally and support small businesses over Christmas – and we encourage consumers to think about them when doing their shopping this year. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our local communities, and with over five million of them in the UK, together they contribute trillions of pounds to the economy. They are quite simply the backbone of the economy and need our support more than ever.”

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