With just one week to go until the start of Independent Retailer Month 2013, Retail Champion Clare Rayner is calling on the British public to support unique, local retailers this July as businesses celebrate the impact they have on the high street.
July marks the UK’s third Independent Retailer Month, aiming to raise awareness of thousands of local businesses and increase footfall into town and village centres, and helping retailers to stay open and improve their network of fellow traders.
The month-long celebration calls upon retailers to unite and create promotions, activities and events to capture the imagination of the local community, and remind people exactly what their local centres have to offer them.
Clare, who founded the Support for Independent Retail campaign in 2011, is calling on shoppers to take 20% of their monthly budget and spend it with local retailers rather than in chains, out-of-town centres or online.
“This campaign is now in its third year and it couldn’t be more important," says Clare. "Only last month it was revealed that the number of empty shops across the UK has hit an all-time high according to the British Retail Consortium, and the only way to try to stem further closures is for retailers to be proactive and not only remind local customers to the fact that they’re here, but to give them more reasons to visit.
"Residents are the first to complain about empty shops in their local centre, so if they really do care about having thriving local businesses then they need to ensure that they put their money where their mouth is, and actually spend with them!”
“The key to both survival and success is to encourage local people to shop locally, relishing in the mix of both well-known high street names and independent, local businesses. Shoppers appreciate a unique offering. Each town needs to appreciate and support the independent retailers that make it a unique location.
“There are some 192,000 independent businesses in the UK, and almost 250,000 shops are occupied by them – the more of them who take part in Independent Retailer Month to celebrate their input and impact into the retail environment, the stronger they will become."
All retailers taking part in Independent Retailer Month have access to a range of free resources, including window posters to help them get noticed, and even thank-you cards to show gratitude to existing and new customers.
In addition to the free tools, the campaign team is also aiming to share every independent retailer month event, giving savvy shoppers the lowdown on what they can look forward to in their town or village.
Clare adds: “Anything that boosts positivity and increases camaraderie within a community of traders is enough to keep them going. Some of the ideas that retailers have come up with this year are brilliant – everything from live music in-house to exclusive discounts during July.
“This year I am urging shoppers to divert up to 20% of what they currently spend out of town, in chains, or with online giants, to their local, independent retailers – be it the local delicatessen, the bakery or grocer, or a boutique, sweet shop or hardware store. Residents are the first to complain about empty shops in their local centre, so if they really do care about having thriving local businesses then they need to ensure that they put their money where their mouth is, and actually spend with them!”
Thousands of independent retailers across the UK are expected to participate in this year’s activities. Retailers interested in taking part can stay up to date with all the activities by following @IndieRetailUK on Twitter, by visiting the Facebook page or by subscribing to www.independentretailermonth.co.uk.