Oxford retailers get training boost thanks to city council and NSA for Retail



Independent retailers in Oxford are being helped to drive sales thanks to a new round of subsidised training and support packages.


Oxford City Council funded a series of National Skills Academy for Retail programmes last summer, with eight retail businesses taking part.


Now thanks to a £10,000 cash injection from the Town Team Partners fund, a new round of the NSA for Retail’s programmes is to be launched in the coming months.


The ‘Guide to Successful Retailing’ courses have been specifically designed to provide independent retailers with the essential skills needed to run a profitable business – they include ‘Retail Business Planning and Finance’, ‘Driving Sales through Marketing’ and ‘Buying and Visual Merchandising’.


Gordon Reid, Oxford City Centre Manager, said the places on the programmes will be offered to independent retailers in the city centre.


“These programmes are a fantastic opportunity for retailers across Oxford to get expert training at heavily subsidised rates; they have been designed specifically for independent businesses to improve performance, increase footfall and ultimately make them more profitable and sustainable.


“When the city council applied for Town Team Partners funding, we said that one of our main priorities was to assist the development of independent retailers in the city. We remain committed to this and are currently putting together a plan with the NSA for Retail, with the aim of delivering these programmes before the summer.


“We had 40 people from eight businesses taking part in the programme last summer: Oxford Aromatics, Macsamillion, Ansari, The Old Fire Station, Jemini, Oxford Blue, Oxford Castle Quarter and Boswells.


“We received positive feedback on the benefits of the courses and now that word has spread, we are looking forward to getting even more retailers involved this time around. Oxford City Council is always very supportive of any initiatives that can help local retailers to thrive, and we are determined to create conditions for business to prosper, assisting in any way we can.”


The previous group of businesses worked with retail expert Shalina Alabaksh – an NSA for Retail Approved Consultant – both in group and one-to-one mentoring sessions.


Shalina said: “Oxford is an aspirational city and a fantastic retail destination with a real mix of businesses. The group in Oxford were extremely receptive and welcoming of new ideas to drive their businesses forward. They are all now keen to work together and alongside other retailers in the city to share their knowledge and help to drive footfall and more custom to their high streets.


“The Guide to Successful Retailing courses are ideal for ambitious business owners and managers as well as young entrepreneurs looking to kick-start their businesses.”


“Any independent retailers or organisations who would like to get involved can contact myself at shalina@alabaksh.com


For more information on the Guide to Successful Retailing and other NSA for Retail products and services visit www.nsaforretail.com or call 020 7462 5060.

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