Shoe shop legal issues

Man holding black shoe in shoe shop with multiple shoes in background

All retailing businesses have to comply with a certain amount of legislation. The following is an overview of what might be relevant to you.

What licences does shoe shop need?

There are no licensing requirements relating specifically to shoe retailers.

However, if you plan to play background music in your shop you'll need a Music Licence from PPL PRS Ltd. There is an annual fee for this which you can pay online on the PPL PRS website.

Data protection

Any business which uses a CCTV system, or keeps records of individuals' personal details (for example for credit finance purposes) may need to register with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) unless they are covered by an exemption. You might keep records like this if you have an e-commerce or mail order business, for example. From May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation has introduced additional protection for personal data. You can contact the ICO, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF - or visit their website for more information.

Footwear labelling

It's your responsibility as a retailer to make sure that the shoe ranges you sell are correctly labelled so that customers know what materials they are made of.

Selling online

If you sell goods online then there's special legislation that applies to your business. You must, for example, give customers detailed information about your products, delivery charges and cancellation rights and include certain information about your business on your website. There's detailed guidance on your legal obligations to consumers, and on the requirements when selling online, on the Trading Standards Business Companion website. Information about special legislation for online retailers is also available on the website.


There is a wide range of legislation that applies to retail outlets and that protects the interests of the consumer. For example, goods and services must not be misleadingly described and the retail price of goods must be clearly displayed. You will be responsible for making sure that all goods or services are fit for their intended purpose and of satisfactory quality. You can find out more about regulations that protect consumers on the website.

Carrier bag charge

A minimum 10p charge applies for single-use carrier bags in England (other rules apply in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). You can get detailed guidance from the GOV.UK website.

Health & Safety, fire

You must comply with workplace health and safety and fire safety legislation.

Employment legislation

Anyone employing staff must comply with employment legislation. Important areas of legislation include recruitment, employment contracts, pay, working hours, holidays, employment policies, sickness, maternity, paternity, discrimination, discipline, grievances, dismissals, redundancies and employment tribunals.

Insurance for a shoe shop

Contact an insurer or insurance broker and explain exactly how your business will operate - they will then explain what insurance cover you must have by law, and other cover you should consider. This might include:

  • premises, premises contents and stock
  • goods in transit (for example on the way back from a supplier)
  • cash
  • business interruption
  • employers liability
  • public liability
  • motor insurance (for delivery vehicles)

It's worth noting that some trade associations offer their members special insurance policies, which might save you money and provide the level of cover you need. For example, the Independent Footwear Retailers Association (IFRA) offers members special rates on insurance policies through their official insurers. Visit their website for further details. The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) also offers specialist retail insurance policies to its members.

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