Best practices for creating a holiday retail security strategy - Retail Council of Canada
Human Resources | Loss Prevention

Best practices for creating a holiday retail security strategy

November 10, 2021

In preparation for the Holiday season, the Loss Prevention Advisory Committee created a list of best practices that members can use to review or create their Security Plan for the Holidays. Download our “Holiday Retail Security Strategy” best practices PDF and print it out for easy in-store reference.

The Loss Prevention Advisory Committee, made up of leaders who represent organizations from across the country and various retail sectors, has made it one of their strategic objectives to provide guidance and advice in the areas of Loss Prevention and Risk Management to help retailers of all size protect their assets. 

Protect your locations and product:

  • Alarm lists up to date. 
  • Communicate holiday expectations with Alarm monitoring provider.
  • Physical barriers in place to manage crowd and traffic flow.
  • Establish capacity standards and protocols to facilitate traffic movement.
  • Plan Open and Close procedure to ensure location is secure.
  • Guard services arranged for high-risk locations. 
  • Post Orders in place.
  • Reach out to suppliers in advance to arrange services.
  • Assess and test all your Security Systems and equipment.
  • Extend guarding coverage to earlier hours to assist with crowd control.
  • Limit high value goods on sales floor. 
  • Establish protocols for high value items taken to sales floor.
  • Validation of receiving of high value items.
  • Review Cybersecurity plan and response. 
  • Ensure Incident Response Team list is up to date and available.
  • Ensure there is a process for disposing of garbage. 
  • Cardboard flat and garbage checked by management. 
  • Secure exterior bins.
  • Remove merchandise from windows at close and leave strategic lighting on.


  • Work with HR on Holiday hiring.  Have a plan to provide a security overview to all seasonal hires.
  • Identify high risk roles and positions and dedicate extra time training these roles.
  • Train staff on security protocols including de-escalation techniques.
  • Assign dedicated people / managers to oversee crowd control and capacity.
  • Implement additional audits, checks, visits to focus on internal controls.
  • Ensure staff are aware of emergency protocols.  Conduct simulation exercises in advance of holiday rush


  • Implement Security Talks at the beginning of every shift leading up to and during holidays.
  • Work with Operations on a communication plan to ensure there is a daily message.
  • Create Holiday key words to facilitate requests for security support.
  • Update contact lists, holiday availability list and escalation tree.
  • Contact your local police department and ask them of any plans and request an officer to speak to your team.
  • Connect with Mall Security management, where appropriate, review their plan and share yours with them.