Independents’ Day success

Independents’ Day 2012 took place last month with thousands of retailers across the UK calling on the public to buy at least one item from a local, independent shop and join the fight to keep our high streets alive.

From book stores to butchers, florists to fashion boutiques, the day shines a light on the many and varied independent retailers in the UK, raising awareness of the important contribution they make to high streets, local communities and the UK economy, as well as the wide range of specialist skills required to run a successful business. With convenience stores playing a huge part of this mix, a huge number got involved, including many in Scotland.

Skillsmart Retail and the National Skills Academy for Retail teamed up with independent retailers and trade associations that represent over 12,000 small businesses to celebrate diversity on the high street and encourage people to get behind their local stores.

Following a number of recent government initiatives to boost town centres and local communities, such as the Portas pilots, Coastal Communities Fund and City Skills Fund, independent retailers want to remind people about the important role they play in a thriving village, town or city centre.

Anne Seaman, Chief Executive of Skillsmart Retail said: “We are delighted to lead this campaign to raise awareness of both the challenges smaller retailers face and also their importance both locally and nationally.”

According to the UK Data Company, there are 171,495 independent retail businesses throughout the country with the Opening and Closures Report 2012 revealing that the number of independents grew by 2.4% last year. Recent research from the National Skills Academy for Retail also showed that 51% of shoppers believed they got a higher level of customer service from an independent store while 42% choose to shop locally to boost businesses.

Jane Rexworthy, Director of Skills Solutions and Head of the National Skills Academy for Retail commented: “We are delighted to see so many retailers and town centres getting involved in the campaign.”

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