One in 10 retail workers suffers physical abuse, while 44% have been subject to verbal abuse.
Unions are demanding action from employers and the Government to ensure workers are adequately protected.
A survey carried out by Mandate found the main issues behind the problem included refund policies, sale policies including checking ID, customers being drunk and understaffing.
General Secretary of Mandate John Douglas called for action, saying: "All employers have a responsibility to ensure they are providing a safe place to work...and to ensure they advise customers they will not tolerate any (abuse of staff). This time of year can be very, very stressful."