Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, and founder of the “Support for Independent Retail” campaign calls for all independent retailers to lead by example and to pledge to support their own local, independent traders.
Over 16% of Independent Retailers fear that they will go out of business in 2013 according to research completed by BIRA (British Independent Retailers Association) and O2 Priority Moments in October 2012. The latest figures published by LDC (Local data company) state that Independent retailers make up 68% of all town centre occupants UK wide. Loosing 16% of them would have a catastrophic impact on a considerable number of communities and local economies. The BRC (British Retail Consortium) have called on government to freeze business rates in 2013. High rates are a barrier to growth, cited by many smaller retailers as one factor that will cause them to “shut up shop” in 2013. However the Autumn Statement offered no relent on the planned increases to business rates which may be the final straw for numerous smaller retailers.
With the independent retail sector continuing to face uncertain times, Clare Rayner, The Retail Champion, decided something had to be done. Rayner said “If we, as small business owners and independent retailers, don't spend enough locally it is hypocritical to expect other people in our communities to spend with us. We must ALL lead by example.”
A study completed by CLES (Centre for Local Economic Strategies) showed that for every £1 spent locally, 50p – 70p of that money circulates back into the local economy. For the same £1 spent out of town or online only 5p trickles back into the local community.
Rayner is encouraging people to divert around 20% of what they currently spend with chain stores or big online brands and spend it with local independents instead: "Just 20% will make a huge difference to your local traders, because your £1 spent locally is worth at least 10 times more to the local community that if you spent it elsewhere”. This pledge encourages people to take positive action to avoid 1000s of local, independent traders from going out of business.
Rayner added “Our communities are made up of people – people who work and live there. If we want to make a difference, to turn around the fortunes of our local areas, then we all have to start by making changes to how we shop. I hope that 2013 will be a year of positive change for the independent retail sector and for the UK high streets overall. A thriving local community is a great place to be, whether we’re business owners or residents.”
The Support for Independent Retail campaign, and it’s associated activities, intends to build on what it has already achieved with the “Celebrate an Independent Christmas” campaign, creating ongoing community spirit and engagement between local people and local traders, so that those towns who embrace it can look forward to a positive start, and end, to 2013.
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