INDEPENDENT RETAILER MONTH CELEBRATES ITS FOURTH YEAR

Independent retailers are being urged to celebrate their individuality by holding a range of events and activities throughout July, when the Independent Retailer Month campaign will run for its fourth consecutive year.

Independent Retailer Month aims to raise awareness of thousands of local businesses and increase footfall into town and village centres, helping retailers to stay open for business and to improve collaboration between retailers.

The campaign aims to impact the independent retail sector with fun activities and events to connect consumers and communities with local businesses, helping to engage their interest in and understanding of the benefits of shopping with local independent brands.

Clare Rayner, the Retail Champion and founder of Independent Retailer Month, said: “As we enter our fourth consecutive year, we want consumers to understand the importance of their local businesses. Springboard Research for the British Retail Consortium found that high street footfall was down 26% from 2007–2013 during traditional hours, although notably revealed that there was growth in the evenings from 5.00pm to 8.00pm, and at the weekends. It’s really important that shoppers return to their local brands and see what small, independent businesses can offer.

“Independent Retailer Month is an unfunded campaign and we don’t want retailers to damage their margins with one-day discount events. Instead, we want a month-long celebration of our independent retailers to reconnect communities with their local businesses and help create a change in consumer behaviour that will last well beyond the end of July.”

Retailers are still being urged to join the campaign and plan activities and events to increase the footfall in their area. All those taking part have access to a range of free, downloadable materials and resources, from window stickers to press kits, so that they can tell the local community how they will be celebrating their individuality this July. The tools can be accessed at www.independentretailermonth.co.uk/resources/.

Clare continued: “There’s still time for independent retailers to get involved. Everything is on the Independent Retailer Month website to support participants and we’re welcoming free event listings for businesses to promote their plans. We love seeing the creative ways in which retailers are planning to entice new custom!”

One example of creative celebrations from Independent Retailer Month 2013 was Frugi Wholesale, which invited its stockists to hold a “Frugi Tee Party” during the campaign. The party included children’s colouring competitions, where the winner’s design was manufactured by the wholesaler on to tee-shirts for the stockists to later sell. You can see Clare’s video introduction of the Frugi Tee Party here.

She said: “Frugi Wholesale’s event last year is a great example of what retailers should be doing to increase their footfall. We want Independent Retailer Month to be more about creating a fun experience for customers, showcasing unique products and great service. Consumers should have a fantastic experience exploring their local businesses rather than the same-old, same-old of wandering supermarket aisles, trawling shopping centres or zombie-like online shopping!”

Thousands of independent retailers across the UK are expected to participate in this year’s activities. Retailers interested in taking part can keep up with news and updates by following @IndieRetailUK on Twitter, by visiting the Facebook page atwww.facebook.com/IndependentRetailerMonthUK or subscribing to www.independentretailermonth.co.uk.

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