Labour has called for a ‘Small Business Saturday’ initiative to be introduced to help independent retailers.
The shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna has urged the government to do more to support small businesses through a publicity and social media campaign that would be promoted via local and regional authorities as well as local trade associations. It is hoped the campaign would showcase the contribution of small businesses to local economies.
The idea stemmed from a similar scheme in the US which encouraged consumers to use their local shops on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year in America. The campaign, which was endorsed by celebrities including tennis star Serena Williams and actress Jessica Alba, generated sales of $5.5bn (£3.4bn) in independent shops.
Umunna has contacted American Express, who introduced the scheme in the US, to see if they will get involved in the UK. He said that more needs to be done to support independent retailers. “We must do more to celebrate the contribution local, small independent businesses make to our economy and encourage people to buy from them,” he said. “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, play a hugely important role in our communities and add to the unique character of each locality.”
He proposed Saturday December 7, 2013 as the inaugural UK Small Business Saturday.
“Establishing a Small Business Saturday in the UK, a concept which has enjoyed considerable success in the US, would provide a small but simple and effective way to celebrate local small businesses and encourage more people to buy from them on one of the busiest shopping days of the year,” added Umunna.
The Department for Communities and Local Government said it was an idea which would be considered by the government.