Boats on water in docks.

Top risks to the retail industry in 2019: RPC’s Retail Compass Summer edition 2019

Published on 19 July 2019

Retailers face wave of new legislation, on top of Brexit

RPC, the City-headquartered law firm, has launched its Summer 2019 Retail Compass, its guide to the upcoming legal and policy changes affecting the retail industry. The latest version of the Retail Compass can be found here.

According to RPC, three key issues that retailers would be advised to pay particular attention to in the coming months are:
  • Strong Customer Authentication – September 2019. Online retailers will need to have in place more secure methods for purchases over a specific value made online. Retailers not only face the cost of updating their checkout software and data storage methods, but due to the extra security at checkout, retailers may experience an increase in the number of sales falling through as customers become frustrated by the process.

  • Making Tax Digital – October 2019. The change will require all VAT-registered retailers with a taxable turnover above the VAT threshold to use the Making Tax Digital service to keep records digitally and use software to submit their VAT returns. Retailers, particularly smaller companies and not-for-profits, will face an additional administrative and financial burden with Making Tax Digital compliance.

  • Extension of Senior Managers and Certification Regime for retail businesses – December 2019. FCA-authorised retailers which offer finance or credit to their customers will need to comply with the Senior Managers and Certification Regime (SMCR). The senior managers this concerns will need to be fully aware of their new “duty of responsibility” or they risk breaching the conduct rules unintentionally. 
Jeremy Drew, Joint Head of Retail at RPC, says: “Despite Brexit planning overshadowing the horizon, we would advise retailers not to overlook the major legal changes coming into effect in the coming months.”

“There are steps retailers can take to avoid falling foul of the impending legislative changes to avoid penalties for non-compliance, disruption to their businesses, or reputational damage.”

“The vast majority of retailers now operate globally, if not directly through their sales then in the supply chain, therefore they must ensure they are also aware of international legislative changes and trends.”