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Indies gear up for third Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is expected to deliver more than £500m in sales for independent retailers this weekend as it begins to gain traction among shoppers.

N Shelley

The grassroots initiative, which takes place on the first Saturday of December and is in its third year, encourages shoppers to buy from local businesses through a nationwide advertising campaign. Many retailers run offers in store on the day.

Last year around 16.5 million adults visited an independent retailer on Small Business Saturday, spending £504m over the weekend, up from £460m in 2013.

Deryane Tadd, owner of The Dressing Room in St Albans, Hertfordshire, is one of the UK retailers fronting the initiative. She is offering double loyalty points in store and online, a prize draw and a social media competition.

Tadd said sales were 55% higher on Small Business Saturday in 2014, compared to the year before. 

“It’s a great initiative because it gives small businesses a platform when they normally wouldn’t have the same marketing power,” she told Drapers.

“As an independent, you can’t just sit still and expect sales; you need to get involved with things like this when the opportunity arises and use it to your advantage. It’s become one of our biggest shopping days of the year and we think it’s going to be even bigger as more people learn about it.”

Other businesses involved this year include Essex womenswear indie N Shelley, kidswear retailer Jurnie in Solihull and London-based milliner Camilla Rose.

“We got involved a little bit last year and we saw a small uplift in sales, but we’re definitely making more of a thing of it this year in the hope of building on that as it gains momentum,” said N Shelley’s owner Sarah Millet.

Small Business Saturday launched in the US in 2010 before coming to the UK in 2013.

The event’s principal supporter, American Express, is offering shoppers a £5 statement credit every time they spend £10 or more on its cards in a small retailer between December 5 and 20.

Along with a national advertising campaign celebrating the “Heroes of our high streets”, the payment provider has also created an online Shop Small Map to highlight where to find participating businesses.

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