It’s the 4th of July, are you thinking of Independence Day and America? Think again! Today – Independents’ Day – independent retailers are turning the focus to the UK and encouraging Brits to support independent stores and back Britain’s retail sector. Your local independent retailers need you!
Now in its second year, Independents’ Day is flying the flag once more for local retailers. The day aims to celebrate the many and varied independent retailers in the UK, raising awareness of the contribution they make to high streets and local communities. Skillsmart Retail and the National Skills Academy for Retail have teamed up with independent retailers and trade associations around the country to encourage the public to celebrate their local high street and support their local independents.
KEEPING IT LOCAL
It is clear that shoppers prefer to keep it local with 52% of Brits admitting it is more convenient to shop in their local shopping area than travelling further afield. 42% of people go as far as to say that they enjoying shopping in their local shopping area. This is not surprising considering that 51% of shoppers believe they receive a higher level of customer service in independent shops, while 43% of people enjoy shopping in them because they feel they receive a unique service.
SOS – SAVE OUR SHOPS
The tough retail landscape means many shops are struggling to stay open – with nearly 24,000 shop units currently vacant in UK town centres* almost 14% of shop units in the UK are empty. Whilst the government recently invested in initiatives to boost town centres and local communities (such as the Portas pilots, Coastal Communities Fund and City Skills Fund), it is clear that independent retailers are the key to the future of the British high street. A recent report revealed that the number of independents grew by 2.4% last year, with more than 15,000 opening - three times more than chains.**
New research shows that shoppers want to support the local community, with 42% of shoppers enjoying shopping locally because they feel they are supporting local businesses. 38% enjoy shopping locally because they feel they are keeping local people in work in the area.
SHOP TO SHOW SUPPORT
The UK has 171,495 independent retail businesses and each one needs your support. So instead of going to a usual big brand store why not keep it local? Buy at least one item in an independent shop to help keep the diverse shopping community alive.
In honour of Independents’ Day, ‘indie’ retailers across the country will also be celebrating by having fun, local events as well as hosting a range of activities and running special discounts. So be part of your community, find out what is going on in your area and head down to celebrate the uniqueness of your high street!
*UK Data Company, April 2012
** Local Data Company report (Openings and Closures 2012)
National and local independent retailers available for radio and TV interviews. For more information please contact Helena Reed on 0207 7535 5800/ Helena.firstname.lastname@example.org