Eight out of 10 independent retailers believe their store plays an active grass-roots role in the community which multiple supermarket chains cannot match, according to an exclusive survey.
The poll of Convenience Store readers also revealed that 89% of respondents felt that a sense of community was as important or more important to local residents than it has ever been.
The survey of 492 retailers was commissioned by the My Shop Is Your Shop (MSYS) campaign to coincide with the start of National Independents' Week (June 4-10). Described by the organisers as "potentially the biggest ever consumer awareness and sales opportunity for the independent sector", the unprecedented week of events is the result of months of preparation and is intended to drive home the message that local shops are a vital part of the community.
MSYS supremo Alan Toft said he expected the event to have a positive long-term effect on independents' sales. "MSYS works," he told C-Store. "For retailers who hold a unique position within a community, the concept of increasing footfall by involvement with that community is fundamental to the sector's future."
To launch the event, 6.5 million readers of the Daily Mirror and Daily Record will receive a double-page offer of £4.25 in discounts in today's (June 1) edition, to encourage them to visit their local store. It is part of a campaign involving national and local newspapers, TV and radio stations, designed to remind the nation of the value of the independent shop.
Stores across the country have organised events to celebrate NIW, ranging from street parties to store discounts. Many have invited their local MP to attend, and leading wholesalers and suppliers are also lending their support.