Celebrate Independents’ Day

As the USA celebrates Independence Day so the UK backs its small business retailers on Independents’ Day.

Organised by Skillsmart Retail and the National Skills Academy for Retail, the day champions diversity on Britain’s high streets, and encourages shoppers to support their local sole traders.

Just as successful ecosystems rely on biodiversity so the country’s high streets rely on the diversity of small shops. Big stores have their place, and are recognised everywhere, but the best shopping experience comes from trying out new, small shops that offer character, personal service and inidividuality, not to mention the specialist stores with valuabel in-depth experience of their wares.

Small retailers provide jobs, services and products for local people and are a big part of local communitites despite their size.

However, many shops still stand empty in towns and cities across the UK with under-investment and increasing business rates putting incredible pressure on small business retailers.

Stephen Robertson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium, said:

"The big issues determining the fate of retailers of all types are about rising costs at a time of weak consumer demand, but it’s good to spend a day celebrating independent retail,"

"The best shopping locations offer a mix of recognisable big names combined with original and independent stores which give towns their individuality. It’s a mistake to think one part of the sector can only succeed at the expense of the other – some of today’s independents will go on to be the multiples of tomorrow."

Robertson added to the concerns in the retail sector that globalisation has had on the shopping landscape and applauded the local business aspect of independent retailers, adding:

"Successful high streets, where many independent retailers are based, are vital to local communities and economies. We continue to campaign for action to support them and all the retailers trading in them. That means keeping business rates and rents affordable and investing to make each town centre an attractive place to visit which is safe, welcoming and accessible."

So, to celebrate Independents’ Day 2012 pop out at lunch time and visit your friendly neighbourhood small shop for a change – Diversity and individuality could disappear otherwise.

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