THURSDAY 28TH NOVEMBER: With just 25 shopping days until Christmas, Retail Champion Clare Rayner is calling on the Great British public to buy more of their gifts and festive food from their local, independent retailers.

To help shoppers do just that they can take part in a “Christmas Shopping Challenge” in over 50 towns UK wide! The challenge invites shoppers, in particular those with young families, to “decorate a Christmas tree” by obtaining a pretty bauble sticker from each of the shops they visit. The Christmas tree features on the front cover of a local map which will list all the independent businesses taking part. When the tree is fully decorated, and 10 bauble stickers have been collected from 10 of the participating shops, the family is award a “Certificate of Completion” and the children are given a little gift. They also get to keep their Christmas tree!

It is hoped that the Christmas Shopping Challenge will also make shopping with kids a bit less stressful for busy parents over the festive period, keeping the children occupied and focused on completing the challenge! A list of all areas involved can be found via However, retailers in towns that are not involved still need support at this key time of year. Clare Rayner explains why:

Christmas sales can account for between 30% and 60% of a retailer’s annual turnover. A bad Christmas can mark disaster for a small business that simply won’t have the same financial reserves available to them as the bigger players. As we have seen over the past 5 years, since the demise of Woolworths, no business is immune to tough trading and every January we witness major high street retailers collapsing into administration.
Good sales at Christmas can guarantee an Independent retailer’s survival for the year ahead. Getting customers to divert a small proportion of their total Christmas Shopping budget, and to get them to spend it with local independent retailers, can make the difference between a business staying open or being forced to shut down.”

The “Christmas Shopping Challenge” is part of the “Celebrate an Independent Christmas” campaign event, created in 2012 by Rayner to support smaller retailers at the all-important time of year. It is part of the year-round “Support for Independent Retail” campaign that aims to raise awareness of thousands of local retailers, to increase footfall into town and village centres, to help our local traders to stay open for business, and to improve collaboration between local businesses and town teams / councils / BIDs.

Rayner continued: “Most consumers don’t appreciate just how valuable their cash is to their local businesses, and, more importantly, to their local economy. Our campaign has produced thank-you cards, which retailers can give to all their customers this festive season. These cards, whilst a bit of fun, also carry a serious message too – each one says ‘For every £1 you spend with a local, independent business, between 50p-70p circulates back into your local economy. Shopping locally supports local traders, their suppliers and the people they depend on to run their businesses. Buying locally boosts your local economy, rebuilding con­fidence in the community, enabling local businesses to prosper and grow. Shopping online or out-of-town may save you a little time but for every £1 you spend, only 5p trickles back into your local economy. When you shop with your local independents you are doing ‘your bit’ to keep your high street, town or village centre ‘open for business’. Sadly it really is a case of ‘use it or lose it’. So, Thank You for choosing to spend with us this Christmas, we look forward to seeing you again soon.’ I am urging shoppers to try and divert 20% of what they’d spend with online giants or a multiple retailers to their local independent businesses for the benefit of their high street, the community and their local economy.”

To find out which areas have already confirmed that they will be putting on a “Christmas Shopping Challenge” see Retailers, town teams, local councils and BIDs interested in taking part can stay up to date with all the activities by following @IndieRetailUK on Twitter, by visiting the Facebook page at or by subscribing to the newsletter via

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