Retailers - what to expect when school starts

Monday, 11 September 2017  |  Admin

September will see hundreds of thousands of students descend back at school, college, or starting university at new cities across the UK. Freshers Week, where university students sample everything their city’s nightlife has to offer, means there is sure to be an influx of young people descending upon shops to purchase alcohol and other age restricted products.


Whilst many of these customers will be over 18, there will also be under 18s trying to capitalise on the influx of new young people to their city who will attempt to make purchases of alcohol and cigarettes. With this in mind, it is paramount that retailers safeguard themselves against this possibility, particularly if they are situated in an area with a high student footfall. There are a few steps retailers can take:

  • Ensure staff are up to speed with the identification they are allowed to accept at proof of age. Bank cards, National Insurance cards, or student ID will not suffice. Any ID presented must contain the customer’s photograph, date of birth and a holographic mark, such as a passport, photo driving licence or a PASS accredited proof of age card.
  • Implementing a strict age verification policy is essential and can prevent an illegal sale and subsequent fine. At Under Age Sales, we recommend using the ‘Challenge 25’ guidelines, meaning anyone attempting to purchase alcohol or cigarettes that looks under the age of 25 must provide ID.
  • Posting your age verification policy around the shop via posters, banners, badges and POS shows customers that as a retailer, you are serious about challenging and can prevent a customer from attempting to make the purchase.  
  • If you’re a retailer that sells age restricted items, there are nationally accredited training packages available which ensure staff are fully trained. Not only can this training make sure staff do not sell products to anyone under the age of 18, but in the unfortunate event that they do slip up and make a mistake, evidence of attending the course will provide the owner with proof of due diligence

If a retailer does sell an age restricted product to a child, the consequences are serious. Following the advice of a training body like Under Age Sales Ltd will not only help retailers protect children, but also staff and store owners from conducting an illegal, and potentially damaging, sale.