The National Retail Risks Survey 2016, published today (Wednesday 11 May) by Aon and the British Retail Consortium (BRC), suggests that UK retailers are increasingly concerned about the risk of damage to their reputation and brand.

As competition in the retail industry continues to grow and with technology evolving to enable customers to share their views about businesses online, in real time, almost three-quarters of retailers surveyed said that brand reputation is either a 'high' or 'very high' threat to their business.

Richard Waterer, EMEA managing director of Aon Global Risk Consulting, said the study shows there is mounting evidence that retailers are viewing their reputations as "their most important trading asset".

Uncontrollable threats of UK economic change and increasing competition were cited as the second and third highest rated risks, respectively. Attracting and retaining top talent and the threat of cyber-crime or data breaches also ranked highly on retailers' list of concerns.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC, said: "The rise of brand protection and reputation to become the top risk is not surprising given a market which is more competitive than ever before.

"Against a backdrop where industry profitability is falling and retailers grapple with falling shop prices, rising costs and effectively implementing the National Living Wage; managing the expectations of customers, employees, shareholders and other interested parties is more important than ever."

Conducted during March and April 2016, the survey involved a specially selected focus group of 25 UK retailers. The group comprised individuals with a direct decision making or influencer role in the procurement of insurance and risk management services to their business.

Companies from across the retail sectors were represented, including grocery, fashion, department stores, electricals, home/DIY and wholesale distributors. 62% of the group came from organisations with annual turnover valued at over £1 billion, while 80% of the focus group represented businesses with more than 1,000 employees.

The BRC National Retail Risks Survey 2016 is today forming some the talking points for a keynote panel session at the BRC Retail Symposium, in London.

Click below for more information:

Aon Global Risk Consulting

British Retail Consortium