Sector Risk Report: Retail and hospitality
Our latest sector-focused risk report examines the evolving terrorist threat to the retail and hospitality sector. This report is intended to provide a better understanding of the terrorist threat to owners and managers of businesses in the sector, so they can effectively manage and mitigate the risk. It will also be useful for risk managers and risk finance advisors, who work within the retail and hospitality sector.
Our expert analysts have prepared this report using open-source analysis paired with our in-house data and a range of confidential interviews with leading experts and security directors in the retail and hospitality sector.
- The British Government is considering new legislation – a ‘Protect Duty’ – which will impose greater responsibilities on business owners and operators in the retail and hospitality sector. It will require them to do more to understand and mitigate the threat of terrorism to their businesses, particularly for those which operate in publicly accessible spaces.
- The threat of terrorism is not exclusive to cities and major towns. Therefore, more attention should be given to potentially less secure sites in suburban and rural areas.
- Counter Terrorism Police recently warned the easing of ‘lockdown’ measures could provide greater opportunities for terrorists to operate, potentially leading to a surge in attacks.
- Retail and hospitality spaces will be some of the most crowded places when ‘lockdown’ eases. These represent attractive targets for terrorists using low complexity methodologies, such as vehicular and bladed weapons attacks.
- A terrorist attack against the retail and hospitality sector is likely to cause disruption to local economies and damage public confidence. Sales and footfall could drop significantly for several months after an attack. These downside effects would be particularly acute as businesses begin to recover from the pandemic.
- Even localised attacks can affect the wider economy, leading to a decline in consumer spending, hotel reservations and flight bookings, and, in the longer term, even Foreign Direct Investment.
- The threat of terrorism to the sector stems mainly from Islamist extremist actors, although far-right, far-left and Violent Dissident Republicans (VDRs) have displayed the intent to target retail
and hospitality businesses.
- Terrorist actors will continue to use low complexity methodologies in their attacks against the retail and hospitality sector because they are quick to plan, easy to execute and hard
to detect and prevent.
- More sophisticated methodologies, such as bombings, remain a realistic possibility for terrorists seeking to cause mass casualties and/or significant damage and disruption.