Four weeks to Independents’ Day

The Queen’s Jubilee celebration may be over but local retailers are being encouraged to keep their bunting up, as Independents’ Day is just around the corner.

In just four weeks’ time, on Wednesday 4th July, retailers and towns across the country will celebrate the many and varied independent retailers in the UK. The aim of the day is to raise awareness of the contribution independents make to high streets and encourage the public to buy at least one item from them on the day.

There are over 169,000 independent retail businesses in the UK, equating to 92% of all retail businesses. From fashion boutiques and art galleries to convenience shops and DIY stores, independent retailers form a valuable and treasured part of many communities. They also form an integral part of local economies and contribute greatly to local employment.  Independents’ Day is a chance for the public to show their appreciation and support for these local retailers.

Retailers are being asked to promote the campaign to their customers in their shop windows with the ‘Your local shops need you!’ poster. Many towns and cities are also hosting special events and promotions on the day to encourage extra shoppers to the area.

Supported by Independent Retailer Month UK, led by Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, which runs for the whole of July, Clare said “It’s great that Independents’ Day falls right at the beginning of Independent Retailer Month – we see this as a fantastic opportunity for retailers to kick-start a whole month of promotions, activities and events. Through Independents’ day they can initially engage their local customers and then with sustained activities they can keep them coming back throughout July. By participating in both the day and then throughout the month, independent retailers can remind consumers that shopping local, in their community, can be both a rewarding and enjoyable experience AND supportive of the business owners and employers in their area.”

To raise awareness of the campaign, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Council is encouraging residents and visitors of their seven market towns to share and celebrate what they bought at independent retailers on the 4 July by tweeting a photograph of their purchase and where they bought it from followed by #southernoxonindependents.  A prize will be given to the person who tweets the best photo.

Cllr Judith Nimmo-Smith, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Property and Technical Services at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Southern Oxfordshire has a vast number of independent retailers to be proud of.  Our residents really value the contribution our local retailers make to life in the district and I’m sure will give them their full support on 4 July.”

Jane Rexworthy, Head of the National Skills Academy for Retail said: “Celebration is definitely in the air with the great jubilee weekend we’ve just had and Olympics fever rising. Independents’ Day is another opportunity to celebrate the best of British. The campaign is a great way to showcase the diverse range of independent retailers and traders in the UK and celebrate the talented and hardworking individuals who run these shops.”

The National Skills Academy for Retail’s network of skills shops will be promoting Independents’ Day in their areas and holding special events and training courses to support retailers in developing the range of skills and knowledge they need to improve their businesses.

Jane added: “Independent retailers have to be highly skilled business people who not only need to know their products and customers inside-out but must be able to understand all areas of retail including finance, marketing, HR and buying.  Independents’ Day recognises that the continued success of our high streets relies on all retailers having the skills to run profitable businesses.”

This year, Skillsmart Retail and the National Skills Academy for Retail have teamed up with trade associations including British Independent Retailers Association (bira), National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG), Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) and Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA), as well as the My Shop is Your Shop and Indie Bound campaigns.

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