Over the past few years the grocery chains have grown hugely, expanding into every postcode in the UK with both new supermarkets and, increasingly, small format stores.
We believe local independent stores play a vital role both in our communities and our economy. People want choice, diversity, tradition, good service and a local shop which gives value back to its neighbourhood.
So our Fight Your Corner campaign helps independents to stand up for themselves in three ways. First, we enlist your support to help persuade government to make fair and sensible decisions on planning, competition, and the protection of town centres and local communities.
Get in touch and tell us the ways that your shop is competing with and beating the supermarkets
Second, we aim to provide a toolkit for small stores to resist the intrusion of a larger competitor, and point out some of the fog and fudge that supermarkets habitually use to persuade local councils to allow them in.
Finally and most importantly we look at how good local stores play to their strengths to win the hearts of their customers, and celebrate the independent stores that are thriving through being better, more adaptable and more engaged with the community than the multiples.
Since launching Fight Your Corner earlier this year we have produced a checklist for building the case against a supermarket’s proposed development, and explored how communities such as the residents of Stokes Croft in Bristol and Sheringham in Norfolk have stood up for independent retailers. We have profiled stores which have adapted their offer to establish a point of difference with a nearby supermarket.
Planning policy is under scrutiny at the moment, with both parties in the coalition government favouring reforms that would curb the expansion of large national chains. We need your voices to contribute to this debate, with real examples of how the system has failed to protect competition, choice and the unique character of communities. In particular we call for the return of the need test, which requires new out-of-town supermarkets to prove there is a need for the development, and that it will not harm the town centre.
We will reveal the common reasons why councils reject planning applications. Raising concerns over traffic congestion, noise pollution and unsympathetic architecture can be more effective than stressing the damage to your business.
We will explain how you can fight your corner through engaging the community. It’s not just about getting involved with local life and being at the centre of events it’s also about making sure everyone knows you’re doing this. As well as reporting on the many brilliant ways retailers are cementing this relationship, we’ll look at the aid suppliers, wholesalers and trade associations can provide to help you shout as loud as the multiples, and we’ll give you tips for getting coverage in local newspapers and radio.