National campaign Independent‘s Day, celebrating the diversity of the high street and the significance of independent retailers, has launched today, it has been announced.
Now in its third year, the campaign is organised by the National Skills Academy for Retail and has now teamed up with Independent Retailer Month which runs throughout July to allow retailers to organise celebratory events in stores as well as town-wide over the next three months.
For the first time, independents will be offered a business support and training package to help build skills to grow businesses, such as customer service training, mentoring services and sales, marketing and business planning advice.
Jane Rexworthy, Head of the National Skills Academy for Retail, explained the importance of supporting local retailers in the current climate.
“Independent retailers make up 92 per cent of all retail businesses in the UK and their contribution to a location‘s identity and community is unrivalled,” she said.
“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.
“Throughout the campaign we aim to raise the importance of independent retailers with consumers, encouraging people to shop locally, throughout the year, and particularly on Thursday 4th July.
“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.”
Last month, the Local Data Company released data which revealed that, in the second half of 2012, the number of independent stores that closed on the British high street outnumbered those that opened, bringing the figure into negative territory for the first time in two years as the sector continues to struggle.
Combatting this decline is crucial and involvement from the public will help boost local high streets, believes Retail Champion and Founder of the Support for Independent Retail campaign Clare Rayner.
She explained: “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 is 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.”