Momentum builds for Independent Retailer Month

The British Independent Retailers Association (bira) and the Federation of Small Business commit to supporting Independent Retailer Month UK.

The British Independent Retailers Association (bira), the national organisation for independent retailers across the UK, has confirmed its support of Independent Retailer Month, the global “shop local”  campaign to encourage consumers to shop at their local independent stores throughout July. Alongside bira, Independent Retailer Month has also secured the support of leading small business organisation, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), as a strategic partner to help engage small and market towns in the campaign. FSB intend to participate fully in campaign activity.

The FSB has a national network of 200,000 members, many of which are based on local high streets, and has ran its Keep Trade Local campaign for some years  to highlight the importance of the high street to local communities. By giving its support to Independent Retailer Month, the FSB intends to encourage and engage retail communities in small and market towns in efforts to rejuvenate these struggling economies.

bira has a national network of members in both town and country locations, all of which are integral to their local communities. By getting involved in the Independent Retailer Month, bira members will have access to resources to help them work together with other local businesses to evolve shopping habits and keep more consumer spend in their communities.

Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, who is the official lead partner for Independent Retailer Month in the UK, said “We are delighted to welcome both FSB and bira as official supporting partners of Independent Retailer Month. By engaging with their membership throughout the UK we can spread the word to well over 200,000 small and local businesses, encourage active participation in activities throughout July. With a whole month dedicated to the campaign, and with so many able to get involved, we can begin to create new shopping habits, retaining consumer spending in our high streets for the benefit of our local communities. ”

John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Small independent retailers are vital to our economy and it is imperative that we recognise their importance to our high streets and to putting economic recovery on a firmer footing. These small firms aren’t just part of the local economy – they are the local economy – and so it is vital we highlight their significance.”  

Sarah Golden, Marketing Director at bira said “Championing and supporting independent and family retailers is at the heart of everything we do at bira, since our inception in 1899. Our services help retailers to stay competitive and profitable, but we’re also focusing more on the consumer attitudes to local business.  With our own campaign for independents due to be announced at our National Conference on 24th April, it seemed a natural fit to support Independent Retailer Month.”

Michael Weedon, Deputy CEO at bira is a panellist at the Independent Retailer Month launch conference on Sunday 1st July 2012, Cranmore Park, Solihull. He will be accompanied by speakers from other official supporters of Independent Retailer Month, with panellists from FSB, ATCM (association of town centre management), AMT (action for market towns) and Skillsmart Retail (the team behind Independents’ Day on 4th July). Michael will contribute to what is likely to be a lively debate about what is actually being done to protect the future of the UK independent retailer community.

Michael Weedon said: “The challenges to town centre retailing are many and pressing. While concentrating on the hard and very real disadvantages that independents face, such as parking, rates and planning, we know that helping shoppers recognise the enduring virtues of independents, which make up two in every three shops nationally, will bring them back to our towns – the original shopping centres.”

Alan Hawkins, Chief Executive of bira said “We believe that independent retailers are the glue that holds many local communities together, giving them a real sense of place and a reason to be involved with their local area and high street. They bring choice, variety and real service that you only get from owner run businesses. Anything we can do to support Independent Retailer Month must be a top priority.”

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