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Independents’ Day 2011 – Your high street needs you!



On July 4, 2011 across the country, the public will be encouraged to buy at least one item from their local, independent shop to keep the high street alive.


Skillsmart Retail and the National Skills Academy for Retail have teamed up with independent retailers and trade associations around the country to encourage the public to celebrate diversity on the high street and support their local, independent retailers on July 4.


Fresh data from Local Data Company’s surveys of 2,700 UK retail destinations (out of a potential 4,400 total UK destinations), highlights that high street vacancy rates have started to rise again. The Local Data Company states that 14.6% of outlets are now vacant. This indicates that approximately 50,000 units are now not currently open to business on the UK high streets, showing just how challenging the situation is on the ground.


Nick Ludford Skills Adviser at Sussex Downs College said: “We fully support independent shops and encourage them that business success is built on a well trained workforce. Sussex Downs is a long established provider of skills and development training for businesses and their employees. I shall be in the Eastbourne area talking to local retailers to highlight the campaign and will be talking to them about how they can get involved.”


Georgina Bauer from the Funky Viking in Grove Road, Eastbourne said: “As an independent retailer we offer something more personal to our customers. They really are valued and we strive to offer the best service we can with properly trained staff. Our apprentice is the only one in Eastbourne to reach the finals of Apprentice of The Year and we're really proud that as an independent retailer we are flying the flag in professionalism and quality. People can have misconceptions about independent shops, perhaps being more expensive than the big brands, but hopefully they'll pop in and see us on Independents Day and be pleasantly surprised!”


Anne Seaman, Chief Executive of Skillsmart Retail said: “We are delighted to lead this campaign and support small retailers. Raising awareness amongst the public is one of the biggest challenges smaller retailers face and our message is about encouraging the public to use their local high street and understand how important a diverse retail sector is.


“It’s also essential that local retailers understand that to compete today they need to be top of their game. The time for sitting back has passed and action is required: Your high street needs you!”


 For further information on Sussex Downs College call 0845 2302 007 or email employertraining@sussexdowns.ac.uk


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