But retail champion and founder Clare Rayner warns: 'we can’t rest on our laurels'

Independent Retailer Month deemed a resounding success

Independent Retailer Month came to an end on July 31st, and the founder of the campiagn, as well as participating stores, have witnessed great results.

The campaign aimed to get more people shopping in their local independent stores and retail champion and founder of Independent Retail Month Clare Rayner believes, despite the success, there is work still to be done.

"So many retailers and whole towns took advantage of the opportunity that independent retailer month presents to create promotions, activities and events that really attract and engage local consumers. The feedback has been unanimously positive and one of the case studies demonstrates the real commercial benefit of the campaign," said Rayner.

"However, we can’t rest on our laurels – it’s critical to immediately build on this momentum, which is why we’re turning our attention to the next campaign event – the ‘Celebrate an Independent Christmas’ activities.

"Only through a regular and sustained focus on creating fun and engaging events, which give consumers a reason to keep coming back to their high streets and local stores, will we be able to create a long-term, step-change in consumer behaviour."

A range of retailers that took part in the Month have also confirmed the positive effect it had on business.

Jason Hopkins, UK distributors business director at Akzo Nobel, the brand owners of Dulux, said “2012 was the first year that Akzo Nobel was involved in Independent Retailer Month. This year we up-weighted our promotional campaign to support Independent Retailer Month and early indications show that this has worked well with strong growth on our 2012 performance and very positive feedback from our sales teams.”

Campaign supporters including Action for Market Towns, British Independent Retailers Association and Enterprise Rockers also recongnised the success of the initiative.

"Conventional wisdom says you need several years, loads of hard work and tons of money to build a brand and a campaign like Independent Retailer Month," said Michael Weedon, deputy CEO of British Independent Retailers Association.

"Conventional wisdom is right about the first two but wrong about the third: activism, engagement and inventiveness now do what cash once did and together they have created a great event, brand and movement.”

Now the month is over, Rayner is turning her attention to ‘Celebrate an Independent Christmas’ and hopes support for independent High Street stores continues to build momentum.

"Independent Retailer Month gets amazing support from our supporting partners, from brands, from town centres and from the retailers themselves. Whilst this unfunded campaign has managed to achieve fantastic support and recognition we have still a long way to go," added Rayner.

"There are still 1000s of independent retailers that we have not yet reached. It is our aim now to leverage the momentum from Independent Retailer Month and to focus on the ‘Celebrate an Independent Christmas’ activities, which in 2012 saw over 50 town centres, representing over 1000 retailers, running fun ‘Christmas Shopping Crawls’. This year I’d like to see that number exceed 100 towns and over 2000 retailers.

"Only through ongoing support and awareness building can the campaign continue to gather momentum and turn the perception of the British High Street around to make it great once more."

For more information on the support for independent retail campaign head to www.independentretail.co.uk or follow the campaign on twitter via @IndieRetailUK or on facebook via www.facebook.com/IndependentRetail.

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