Retailers warned to be extra vigilant during GCSE results day

Wednesday, 24 August 2016  |  Admin

With over 700,000 students expected to find out their GCSE results this week, Under Age Sales is urging retailers to be extra vigilant in their fight against the sale of age restricted products to minors.

We recently commissioned a survey of 1,000 15 and 16 year olds about to receive their GCSE exam results this Thursday (25th August), and found to our alarm that a significant percentage will not only hope to drink alcohol, but will aim to purchase it themselves from their local retailer.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of GCSE students admit that they may end up celebrating results day with alcohol, with a third planning to purchase the alcohol themselves from independent retailers. The survey also found that 30 per cent will ask a family member or friend to buy alcohol for them, while 1 in 10 will use a fake ID.

Our research highlights how retailers need to be extra vigilant during exam results and make sure they understand and are confident in adhering to the law.

The survey found a quarter of teenagers who have been challenged for ID feel annoyed or angry, while 40 per cent feel embarrassed. Retailers need to be able to handle situations effectively to ensure such feelings don’t escalate to anything more severe. What’s more, retailers need to be mindful of how they interact with their customers, as our research found over a fifth (22 per cent) of 15 and 16 year olds feel they have been threatened or experienced violence after trying to purchase alcohol.

Training is key in order to protect retailers, their business and staff. As well as knowing when to ask for ID, retailers need to know how to request it and what to do if any issues arise.

The law around age restricted products is there to protect young people and our communities all year round. Effective training can help empower retailers to carry out their work legally, fairly and confidently. Lack of knowledge or resources isn’t an excuse – retailers have a responsibility to ensure all staff receive ongoing training and that they have the correct procedures in place to stop young people obtaining products they shouldn’t. These statistics show exactly why that’s so important.

To explore the statistics in greater depth, including information on the activities and dangers youths commonly get involved in while under the influence of alcohol, you can download our latest report.

For further information on Under Age Sales and age verification policies, visit