Independent retailers join forces to drive footfall locally

As Independent Retailer Month enters its third week, retailers are being encouraged to recognise the benefits of collaboration on the high street.


The annual Independent Retailer Month campaign, now in its fourth year, has seen hundreds of small businesses running events and activities to raise awareness of their local high street, with many working together to offer excitement and enticement to their communities.

Springboard Research for the British Retail Consortium found that high street footfall was down 26% between 2007 and 2013 during traditional hours. However, the same research revealed growth in numbers between 5.00pm and 8.00pm, reflecting the need for later opening hours that met the requirements of working people unable to shop during traditional times.

Another study, conducted by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies for the FSB, discovered that for every £1.00 spent locally, 50-70p recirculates back into the local economy. If that £1.00 was spent out of town, a mere 5p would trickle back to the local community.

With Expedia research for ATCM, meanwhile, showed that an increasing number of consumers are looking for leisure experiences alongside their shopping expeditions. Independent retailers can join forces to create ideas which will give customers the same level of entertainment and social interaction that they would find in a shopping centre.

Independent retailers in towns up and down the UK have been collaborating to help drive footfall and encourage shoppers to spend their money locally.

The Dressing Room in St Albans, has embraced Independent Retailer Month with several initiatives, including extra sale discounts, double loyalty points and a prize draw for luxury goody bags for both online and in-store customers – all in collaboration with its suppliers.

Deryane Tadd, Owner and Director of The Dressing Room, says: “We set ourselves apart by our attention to detail, outstanding customer focus and an excellent product mix picked with our specific market in mind. All of this is delivered by a team trained to be the best in the business. You simply will not get this from a multiple retailer and we need people to recognise and celebrate that.”

In Cambridge more than 45 of the city’s independent shops are joining forces with a combination of special offers, competitions, events and promotions. Collaboration has come into play with the “Discovery Card”, which invites consumers to collect six stamps from different participating businesses in order to be entered into a prize draw to win £150.

Dunblane’s independent retailers are also collaborating for success. Throughout July, more than 20 local businesses are taking part in a loyalty card scheme, where consumers collect stickers from participating retailers for a chance to win one of three cash prizes.

A similar concept was undertaken in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. For the very first time, the town’s smaller businesses joined together to hold an Independent Shopping Trail. The event engaged both single adults and families, with certificates and sweets for the kids and a chance to win dinner for two at one of the market town’s independent restaurants. The trail was so successful that its organisers have now decided to set up a town team to create more ways to generate interest in the local high street.

The trail’s organiser, Melody Shanahan-Kluth, says: “Collaboration between shops will always be a good thing. Our trail invites the public to visit shops that they might not have been in before, or that they might not even have realised were independent businesses. Through this event, we have got independent retailers talking to each other about what can benefit Sleaford’s high street and a town team has been formed to ensure those ideas come to fruition.”

Visit the Independent Retailer Month UK website for more information: