Independents’ Day UK 2020 campaign launches, shoppers urged to ‘Pledge a Pound’ to small shops in their communities

Independents’ Day UK – the campaign that exists to support and promote independent retail businesses across the UK all year round, with an emphasis on driving footfall to small shops on 4 July each year – has launched its 2020 initiative. 

The campaign’s organisers say that in light of government guidelines that will allow non-essential shops to re-open on 15 June, this year’s initiative will go ahead as planned, providing consumers and the sector alike with a unique opportunity to celebrate the value of independent retailers at a ‘critical time’ for the industry. In addition, it is calling on shoppers to ‘Pledge a Pound’ to an independent retailer on Independents’ Day itself, Saturday 4 July. Retailers can download an Independents’ Day logo to display in their shop windows direct from the campaign’s website. 

Howard Robinson, a spokesperson for the campaign says: “Hundreds of thousands of small retailers will re-open their doors just in time for this year’s Independents’ Day and we’re calling on shoppers to pledge at least one pound’s worth of shopping to an indie on July 4th.

“Whether it’s a morning paper or a pint of milk – if all of us go out of our way to support our local shops, we can make a huge difference to a sector that has been hit hard by the Covid-19 lockdown. Independents bring colour, choice and character to our high streets, they provide jobs and invaluable services to communities – and now more than ever, it really is a case of use them, or lose them. We’re at a critical time.”

This is a view echoed by two supporting trade associations.
Mark Walmsley, chair of the Independent Retailers’ Confederation, a group of trade organisations representing different independent retail sectors across the UK, says: “This has been a profoundly challenging period for small shop owners and whilst the independent retail community is relieved to be greeting customers face to face again, now the real challenges begin. Independents’ Day 2020  provides a perfect opportunity for local communities to rally round and support the small independent shops they tell us they value so much.”

Greg Deacon, chief operating officer of the Federation of Independent Retailers, one of Europe’s largest retail trade associations with over 15,000 independent stores in membership throughout the UK and Ireland, adds:
“Independent retailers around the country have shown remarkable levels of innovation over the past few months to keep their businesses going and in many cases to keep serving their customers in new and different ways.
Whilst we can all applaud that, Independents’ Day gives us an ideal chance to celebrate small retailers and support them as they bring their bricks and mortar shops back to the heart of their communities.”

Research published in April by the British Independent Retailers Association warned that one third of independent retailers may struggle to re-open after lockdown, after facing delays in accessing government finance, whilst shopper comparison website finder .com reported that during lockdown 41% had been shopping at local, independent stores more regularly than they had before with 36% saying they planned to use local shops more often once lockdown was lifted. 

The campaign team estimates that last year, over 6,000 small shops across the UK engaged with the campaign – and is hoping that figure will reach at least 20,000 this year.

“Retailers can visit our website for suggestions on how they can attract shoppers to their stores on the day – whether that’s through exclusive one-off promotions or by collaborating with other shops in their community – use the day to celebrate what you bring to your high street and online customers,” Robinson continues.