Biggest mobilisation of independent sector ever

Based on reports from wholesalers, My Shop Is Your Shop campaigners estimate that a record 45,000 independent retailers were involved in some way in the first National Independents’ Week last month.

The figure was revealed in a statement on NIW statistics and trade impact of the campaign. MSYS chairman Alan Toft said: “Our estimate about the number of retailers involved in one way or another by NIW was in the region of 45,000, a record for any generic wholesale/independent activity in the history of the trade.

“The level of mobilisation of support for NIW and independents by the wholesale sector through the FWD and many suppliers in itself was historic and massive.

“Being independents, there is no uniform standard of activity in stores. There were some street parties and other celebrations but in a major or minor way NIW touched the vast majority of family businesses and sole traders.

“The accepted figure for the total universe of independent c-stores, newsagents, rural shops, food and wine stores and delis is about 60,000. We will never capture them all but we must set a target of 50,000 for 2008.

“This estimated total for NIW 07 covers all types of independent retailer. It is based first on 18,000 independent newsagents stocking the NIW money-off coupon edition of the Daily Mirror and Daily Record and using the special NIW POS alerting consumers to the event.

“We then estimate that in addition to these newsagents, a minimum of 27,000 independent c-stores and rural stores bought the special offers lined up for NIW by wholesalers including Booker, Bestway, Landmark, Costco, Makro, Nisa-Today’s, Londis and Budgens.” Toft said of the total of retailers involved, 5,000 received the special NIW in-store theatre kits of T-shirts, caps, balloons, stickers and special POS.

“These T-shirts are a vital element in the campaign. Taking an average of 350 shopper visits per day, over a six-day campaign these T-shirts and their Local And Proud Of It message would be seen about two million times a day.”

Three and a half million readers received the Daily Mirror and Daily Record containing money-off coupons on 12 big brands plus editorial coverage of successful community independent retailers.

These coupons would be taken into thousands of independent outlets for redemption by consumers – again drawing more retailers into NIW.

In a nationwide survey completed by 492 independent retailers, 59% said the MSYS campaign had helped them to connect with their community.

In addition, 63% said the MSYS campaign had inspired them to re-think their general business philosophy regarding their community.

“These research figures alone demonstrate that MSYS is persuading retailers that community involvement is a unique trading benefit which is what we’re about,” Toft said.

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=== msys promotes green local stores ===

The FWD My Shop Is Your Shop (MSYS) campaign is planning to go green by reminding consumers that local shops are within walking distance thus reducing carbon emissions.

“These stores are made for walking,” said MSYS chairman Alan Toft.

“MSYS is all about the value that local independent retailers bring to the local community and this is an issue which is at the top of the consumer agenda.

“The majority of shoppers climb into a car for the big weekly shop. But we are promoting the localness of independents and their proximity to their customer base, which is a big consumer carbon benefit.”

The FWD PR Action Group (PRAG), which controls MSYS, will incorporate carbon footprint issues in its autumn programme now being developed for the campaign.

Toft added: “We believe many independent retailers are environmental activists so we will find ways of encouraging every independent to use their carbon reduction benefit in their local individual promotional message to their community.

“The intensity of consumer interest in the environment has resulted in PRAG maximising the fact that most of the customers of independent c-stores, newsagents and rural shops do not drive to shop.

“Many local shops have passing trade. But MSYS is harnessing every possible benefit which local independents serving non-drivers can claim and a reduced carbon footprint is one of them.”

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