One-stop shopping

Napoleon once described the British as "a nation of shopkeepers".

Two centuries later, nothing much has changed. According to the British Retail Consortium, there are over 188,000 VAT-registered retail businesses in the UK, operating in more than 322,000 outlets. More than 30% of all consumer spending goes through these shops, which employ 11% of the UK's workforce. It is a sector no insurer or broker can afford to ignore.

Simon Cooter, director of small business at Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA),