National Independents Day in the UK a success for small business

“The crisis affecting small high street firms is being buried beneath the misleading success stories of the likes of Tesco and Ebay which are hijacking coverage in the business and retail media. The harsh reality is that the success of supermarkets and out of town shopping centres comes at a terrible price. Small shops are dying on their feet as a result of the anti competitive practises of the big chains such as running loss leaders (see notes to editors). Moreover business rates disproportionately hit small firms much harder than big chains.” Forum of Private Business Chief Executive Nick Goulding

The 25,000 business members of the Forum of Private Business (FPB) was one of many groups to praise the National Independents Day – held June 1 across the UK. And you can see why. With upwards of 20,000 independents closing since 1997, groups like the FPB are concerned at the impact not only economically but socially. You can read the full FBP National Independents Day press release here.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents, representing 25,000 independent businesses, are also major supporters of and participants in National Independents Day.

“My Shop is Your Shop has been strongly backed by the NFRN, who represent more independent retailers than any other organisation, has actively encouraged members to take part in the scheme. What unites them all is the invaluable service they provide to the local communities of which they are a central part. Through this national promotion, aimed at driving sales and community support, independent retailers should be able to make National Independents Day a great success.” Peter Wagg, NFRN National President.

The full NFRN press release can be found here.

The campaign resulted is increased store traffic and a focus in the media on independents such as this article in The Evening Telegraph.

Independent retailers in Australia ought to consider a similar campaign.

Newsagents, chemists, bakers, greengrocers, butchers, fuel retailers – they could ALL band together and celebrate independence and the Australian culture we preserve and pass on in every transaction every day.

We could offer bonuses to customers to draw them in. We could provide solid statistics to the media so they are educated. And we could educate politicians that independents retailers need more that promises at election time to fight the good fight against the likes of Starbucks, Woolworths, Coles and Australia Post.

Independent retailers have strong opinions about lack of support from government and unfair behavior by national chain competitors yet they rarely do anything about it. What happened in the UK on June 1 should be the encouragement we need to run a campaign in Australia.

Collectively, independent retailers in Australia have more power than our competitors. It’s time for us to use this to our advantage and to the advantage of Australian consumers.

Maybe the Federal Government could start the ball rolling by putting up initial funding for the campaign and providing some organizational resources.

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