Convenience stores are struggling to remain compliant with age restricted product laws due to the “overburden of new legislation.”

Underage Sales retail advisor and former trading standards officer Victoria Gale told Retail Express: “It’s very rare to come across stores that are completely compliant, I’ve come across maybe a handful in my work.”

During a recent round of shop visits by Retail Express and Under Age Sales, issues related to alcohol licensing, tobacco legislation, data protection and the sale of goods act were all discovered in stores.

While many of the breaches were small, the impact on retailers can still be huge. For example, Gale said on some days only half of the retailers she visits are displaying the statutory tobacco age warning. “The sign is a legal requirement and only costs about a £1 for the poster compared to a maximum £1,000 fine for failure to display it,” she explained.

Another common issue included not displaying the price of each tobacco line sold either on a poster, a booklet kept behind the till or on the gantry shelf edges.

The tide of legislation shows no sign of shopping, with tobacco track and trace, deposit return schemes, corrosive substances bans, energy drink age limits and minimum alcohol unit pricing all on the cards for 2018.

Do it: Check if your store is compliant with these common retailer issues

  • Is the price of every line in your store clearly displayed?
  • Is there a sign to make customers aware they are being filmed through CCTV?
  • Is there a record of staff training on preventing under age sales?
  • Is there a refuse of sale record either through the EPOS system or a leger?
  • Is there an alcohol license clearly displayed in the store?
  • Do you have an operating schedule explaining how the store will promote the licensing objectives?
  • Do you have the statutory yellow A3 tobacco age restriction sign on display?
  • Do you have a price booklet, poster or shelf labelling for your tobacco products?