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Following the high street herd will see your identity crumble

Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve,” JK Rowling once said. Retailers would do well to remember this, although it will take some serious wizardry to keep our high streets alive in 2013.

As most indies are well aware, the hangover from last year’s bloodbath is still with us. Around 1,000 fashion indies disappeared in a brutal first six months of 2012 and many are predicting retail bankruptcies to increase this year.

But those feeling queasy about the year ahead would do well to heed Rowling’s advice and keep their nerve. Indies must retain their identity and hold on to their uniqueness. Diversity is important and standing apart from the crowd, offering great customer service and novel products will stand you in good stead, even in tough times.

Following the high street herd will only see your identity crumble and result in a deep discounting race to the bottom.

Of course, we should never confuse staying true to our beliefs with stubbornly resisting change. Investing in online platforms and concentrating on other channels of retailing must become a key priority.

Embrace the year ahead, nurture your creativity, keep your wands at the ready and leave the muggles to the multiples.

  • Paul Turner-Mitchell, Co-owner of Rochdale young fashion indie, 25 Ten Boutique

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