Today sees the launch of this year’s Independents’ Day. This date has been chosen because it’s exactly three months to July 4, which has been declared a nationwide day for the public to shop at independent retailers and celebrate diversity on the high street.
Organised by the National Skills Academy (NSA) for Retail, and now in its third year, Independents’ Day is a national campaign which aims to give a voice to the UK’s independent retailers.
In 2013 the campaign has joined forces with Independent Retailer Month, which runs throughout July. So Independents’ Day will kick-start a whole month of celebration of Independent Retail, that aims to re-connect local people with local traders for the benefit of the whole community. The push has the support of 10 trade associations including Bira (British Independent Retailers Association).
Over the next three months, retailers will be encouraged to download campaign posters and other supporting materials from www.retailindieday.com, organise celebratory events in their stores, and join forces with other retailers, town centre teams for town-wide celebrations.
This year, for the first time, a package of training and business support is being made available to independent retailers and their staff. It includes WorldHost customer service training, the Guide to Successful Retailing Programmes, inspired by Mary Portas and covering Business Planning, Finance, Sales and Marketing and Buying and Visual Merchandising as well as mentoring services.
Jane Rexworthy, Head of the NSA for Retail, said: “Independent retailers make up 92% of all retail businesses in the UK and their contribution to a location’s identity and community is unrivalled. We recognise how important they are to local economies and to create a healthier high street, and we are delighted to give independent retailers a voice to reach out the public.
“We also want to raise awareness amongst the independent retailers of the vast amount of support and training that is now available at a substantially reduced price, to assist them in acquiring and improving essential skills which can really make a difference to their bottom line.”
Clare Rayner, founder of Independent Retailer Month, added: “2013 is the third year for Independent Retailer Month and we intend it to be the best yet. I’m delighted to work alongside the NSA for Retail, and it’s great to have this national, consumer-facing event as a kick-start to this year’s Independent Retailer Month.
“Whilst we’re focusing on celebrating our smaller retailers and consumer-facing businesses, it’s important to remind ourselves that in the second half of 2012 more independent shops closed than opened.
“It’s imperative that our independent retailers get the support of their local community to survive and thrive in very challenging trading conditions. Consumers need to appreciate that local traders, like any business, need customers to survive.”
Independent retailers in over 100 locations across the UK have been involved in past campaigns and many have already confirmed their support for Independents’ Day 2013.
Retailers interested in taking part can stay up to date with all the activities by following the campaign on Twitter: @Retail_IndieDay, facebook.com/independentsday, or by accessing the news sections of www.retailindieday.com and www.independentretailermonth.co.uk.