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Have yourself an indie little Xmas

Festive family fun challenge aims to set those till bells ringing

A SHOPPING challenge is the latest campaign to entice Christmas consumers into independent stores across the UK.

As part of the Celebrate An Independent Christmas campaign, retailers will be offering festive family fun as they invite consumers to collect bauble stickers to decorate a tree.
Once they’ve completed their tree from participating independent retailers, the customer wins a Christmas treat and, in some areas, will be entered into a prize draw.
The challenge is organised by Support For Independent Retail and designed to run throughout the Christmas shopping period, although some towns may choose to extend it until New Year’s Eve, and it coincides with other initiatives such as Small Business Saturday.
Clare Rayner (pictured), the Retail Champion and Support For Independent Retail founder, said: “Independent retailers need to do everything they can to keep shoppers coming into town.
“Like all of our campaign events, Celebrate An Independent Christmas is all about collaboration between businesses. By working together, independent retailers can remind their local communities that it’s no secret how unique, friendly and fun the High Street can be at Christmas time!”
Although consumers aren’t required to buy anything when they collect their baubles, the idea is to highlight the great customer experience they can find in smaller shops, so increasing the chance of future visits to make purchases and of recommendations to friends.
Support For Independent Retail spotlight the struggles faced by independent retailers in an increasingly competitive market where High Street footfall continues to decline, with recent BRC/Springboard research showing more shops are going to out-of-town retail parks.
But Springboard’s Christmas forecast suggests that footfall will lift by eight per cent across the UK during the festive shopping period – subject to there being no bad weather – with High Streets expected to welcome more Christmas shoppers than shopping centres, but both will likely be trumped by out-of-town stores.
Springboard said out-of-town retail parks continue to have a hold on consumers, partly due to more taking advantage of click-and-collect services, and partly because customers continue to show preference for the free parking and flexible opening hours they offer.
Claire added: “We’re hoping that, this year, the Christmas shoppers will continue to support their local High Streets. Research by Centre For Local Economic Strategies and Federation Of Small Businesses has shown that for every pound spent locally, between 50p to 70p will be put back into the local economy. If that pound is spent out of town, only 5p trickles back.
“Celebrate An Independent Christmas is about educating consumers on where their money goes and how their community could benefit if they choose to support their local indies.
“Analysts are expecting online shopping to reach record numbers again this Christmas, but we’re hoping that consumers remember the unique gifts and fantastic customer service that you can only get in independent shops.
“Independent retailers who are sadly missing out on our fantastic Christmas campaign need not worry – as soon as 2015 comes along, we’ll be gearing up for our Enjoy An Independent Easter campaign. So watch this space!”
Areas getting into the independent Christmas spirit this year include Buxton Spa, Hertford, Huntingdon, Didsbury and Sidmouth.
A full list and more information can be found at www.indiechristmas.co.uk


T: 01727 238890
www.independentretail.co.uk


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