The Association of Convenience Stores has called for greater participation from the sector in Small Business Saturday in future.

The fourth annual fixture was held on Saturday [December 3] to encourage people across the country to shop local and support small businesses in their community.

James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, reported “a great response” on social media throughout the day from retailers who got involved and promoted their business to customers in the local area.

“Small Business Saturday is one of a number of initiatives throughout the year that is aimed at getting more people into local shops and onto high streets, and we believe that it is an important way of raising awareness of the benefits of small businesses,” he said.

“We would like to see even more stores getting involved next year to create even more buzz around the day and further promote the benefits of shopping in small businesses.”

Ken Parsons, chief executive of the Rural Shops Alliance, said Small Business Saturday was not something that many of its members got heavily involved with.

“It seems to me the restaurant trade embraces it more than small rural retailers.”

Parsons said great excitement surrounded the launch of Small Business Saturday in the UK it but it had become less important each subsequent year.

Emma Jenkins, who owns Milverton Stores in Taunton, Somerset, agreed. The Nisa member said she thought Small Business Saturday was “a bit gimmicky” for her customers.

She said she did not like asking people to support her business for any other reason than the quality of her offering.

“With Small Business Saturday you are getting quite close to saying you should shop here because I’m a small business rather than why don’t you shop here because we’ve got everything you need.

“I don’t like to ask for their goodwill. I want them to give it to us gladly,” said Jenkins.