Retailers are being sent a stark warning to ensure they are fully covered by their insurance as store owners in areas devastated by recent flooding face hefty losses.

Storms have swept across parts of the UK causing extensive damage to homes, infrastructure and businesses, including independent stores.

Janet Brookes’ P & J Brookes Newsagents in Mytholmroyd, near Hebden Bridge, was submerged in six feet of water on Boxing Day, causing a tobacco gantry to collapse and damage to all food stock. She is facing paying for the damages after struggling to get insurance after her store was flooded in 2012.

“We’ve disinfected everything and managed to save some of the stationery, but all the food has been thrown out, so we’ll be re-stocking sweets and chocolate from our own pocket,” she said.

Margaret McCloskey, head of operations at the NFRN, is urging retailers to ensure their businesses are covered “for all eventualities”.

So much mud has got into the refrigeration and EPoS equipment. It needs to be completely gutted and rebuilt, which will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and take weeks

“Expect the unexpected,” she said. “One retailer I spoke with this morning believed he was covered with the insurance broker, but he wasn’t. His business has been heavily damaged by the floods and he’s lost a lot of expensive stock such as tobacco. This now needs to be paid for by him.”

My Local in Rochdale was also heavily flooded.  The chain’s chief executive Mike Greene told RN: “So much mud has got into the refrigeration and EPoS equipment. It needs to be completely gutted and rebuilt, which will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and take weeks. We do have insurance, and obviously that’s what it’s for, but it’s frustrating for the teams involved.”

Meanwhile, a paperboy at James Wilkinson’s Pybus Newsagents in Boroughbridge was taken out on a tractor to deliver newspapers last week after a road to one of the nearby villages flooded.

Simon Danczuk, MP for Rochdale, said the effects of flooding are far-reaching.
“Business has been fairly precarious at any rate, as business rates are too expensive,” he told RN. “This could push some businesses over the edge.”