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Independent Retailer Month kicks off with conference

Independent Retailer Month, the celebration of the independent retail sector, has kicked off with the campaigns’ inaugural conference.

The event, which saw over 100 retailers attend, has been hailed a success by organisers who described it as a “beacon of hope and support”.

The global ‘shop local’ campaign will run throughout July and aims to highlight the important role smaller, local, independent retailers play in the communities they serve.

The conference was held at Cranmore Park near Solihull on July 1, and saw speakers offer advice on issues such as e-commerce and commercial rents.

Clare Rayner, retail expert and founder of consultancy and business support provider, The Retail Champion, organised the event. She said: “A lot of independents are finding things hard but we wanted to show them there is something you can do. It’s unusual that independents are given tailored content and ideas and this was an opportunity to share inspirational stories and advice.”

Speakers included retail experts and successful independent retailers including Deryane Tadd of The Dressing Room, St Albans, who is also a judge at the upcoming Drapers Fashion Awards 2012, and representatives from trade bodies including the British Independent Retailers Association and the Federation of Small Businesses.  

Paul Turner-Mitchell, from 25 Ten Boutique in Rochdale also spoke at the event. He said: “It was a great day that brought together people with great ideas under one roof; people that can really make a difference and bring independents to the fore.”

Independent Retailer Month was founded in the US in 2009 by Kerry Bannigan, CEO Nolcha Fashion Week, and Tom Shay, principal of Profits Plus. It launched in the UK in 2011.

The event is separate to the upcoming Independents’ Day. The campaign encourages consumers to buy at least one item from their local shops on July 4 and is organised by retail industry training body Skillsmart Retail.

For details of how to get involved visit, www.independentretailermonth.co.uk

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