Today is Independents’ Day, and customers are being encouraged to buy from independent retailers. But what’s really needed is an environment where all types of retailers can succeed, according to British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson.
“It’s good to spend a day celebrating independent retail,” he said. “But the best shopping locations offer a mix of recognisable big names, combined with original and independent stores which give towns their individuality.
He believes it’s a mistake to think one part of the sector can only succeed at the expense of the other, because some of today’s independents will go on to be the multiples of tomorrow.
“Successful high streets, where many independent retailers are based, are vital to local communities and economies,” he said. “We continue to campaign for action to support them – and to support all the retailers trading in them. That means keeping business rates and rents affordable and investing to make each town centre an attractive place to visit which is safe, welcoming and accessible.
“Encouraging shoppers to try out the full range of retail on offer is worthwhile. But revival really hinges on addressing fundamental issues such as soaring business rates and long-term underinvestment.”