Business support package announced for independent retailers

independent retailerToday sees the launch of this year’s “Independents’ Day” campaign, three months out from 4th July, the date that 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 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, and 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.

This year, for the first time, a package of training and business support is being made available to independent retailers in England at low cost, depending on their location. The package is available to independent retailers and their staff to help them acquire and improve essential skills to grow their businesses and assist them to survive and thrive in the current climate. The support available 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.

Similar support packages are available to independent retailers in Wales, through the Thriving High Street campaign, and in Northern Ireland.

Over the next three months, in the run up to July 4th, retailers will be encouraged to download the campaign posters and other supporting materials from www.retailindieday.com, to organise celebratory events in their stores, but also join forces with other retailers, town centre teams and skills shops for town-wide celebrations.

The Independents’ Day campaign has the support of eleven trade associations (Association of Cycle Traders, Act Smart, Bira, Booksellers Association, Entertainment Retailers Association, Independent Retailers Confederation, National Association of Goldsmiths, National Federation of Meat and Food Traders, National Federation of Retail Newsagents, Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association, National Market Traders Federation).

Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, founder of the Support for Independent Retail campaign, for which Independent Retailer Month is one of the key annual events, said: “2013 is the third year for Independent Retailer Month and we intend it to be the best yet.  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, and for the first time in over two years, 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.”

Chris Smith, owner of independent delicatessen, Greensmiths, in Lower Marsh, Waterloo, who took part in last year’s campaign said: “Independents’ Day is very important to us as it gives independent shops like us the chance to have a voice and be heard.”

Lee Williams of Radio Days vintage boutique, Waterloo said: “Independents’ Day is a really, really good idea because it just brings the whole community together.”

Independent retailers in over 100 locations across the UK, have been involved in the campaign in previous years and many have already confirmed their support for this year’s Independents’ Day.

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