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Mary Portas to sign declaration of independents

July will see a month-long celebration of the independent retail sector thanks to two new initiatives.

Skillsmart Retail and the National Skills Academy for Retail have teamed up with retail guru Mary Portas to launch Independents’ Day, which encourages the public to buy at least one item from an indie on July 4, while Independent Retailer Month is to be launched by retail expert and founder of The Retail Champion, Clare Rayner.

The initiatives come as British Retail Consortium (BRC) outgoing chairman Luke Mayhew was due to condemn criticism of multiples for pushing indies out of the high street as “ridiculous” at the BRC Retail Symposium as Drapers went to press.

Drapers Independent Retailer DirectorySubscribers have exclusive access to Drapers Independent Retailer Directory. Find out what you’re missing now.Mayhew was expected to tell delegates in a speech: “We should celebrate small and independent shops. But we should also appreciate large and multiple retailers, who often anchor our high streets and bring the footfall so desperately needed.”

Independents’ Day will be launched by Portas, who was recently appointed the Government’s retail adviser, at the Association of Town Centre Managers Conference on June 30, where she will sign a “declaration of independents”.

Skillsmart Retail is looking for retailers, including fashion indies, to act as spokespeople for the campaign. Interested retailers can download a ‘Your high street needs you!’ poster at

Meanwhile, Independent Retailer Month kicks off in July, led by Rayner, who has held roles at retailers including Marks & Spencer and Bhs. Indies can download marketing materials from for store windows and ecommerce sites.

Readers' comments (2)

  • its not words on paper th high street needs it people who understand the key dynamics of retail in all its forms not just visual merchandising

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  • MP is so committed to Indie retailing she launches her own label with a huge chain.
    Feels like PR spin to get her name out there...and then mention the new label she owns........the problems Indies face reach far beyond high rents/rates/'s lots of factors including changing shopping habits and getting lower margins than the big chains.
    There are other ways to reach the customer though.....just different to the trad high st business model.

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