Largest ever survey of independent sector

Independent retailers throughout the UK are taking part in the biggest ever research project into their market. The project will build the first true picture of the sole trader and family business and their interface with the local community.

Constructed by the FWD My Shop Is Your Shop campaign, the questionnaire is already being completed by retailers visiting cash and carries and in independent retail outlets called on by wholesaler and supplier sales representatives and merchandisers.

The questions were launched on six websites last week to enable more retailers to participate. Wholesalers are helping by providing links on their websites. Data collected will not be used for marketing purposes or other commercial activities in any way whatsoever. Responses must close on April 24.

Alan Toft, chairman of MSYS, said: “There are eight questions. They relate to the number of working hours put in by independents, retailers’ reasons for being involved in the sector, pressures of business and so on.

“We also ask retailers to tell us how many of their customers they recognise by face and name. It all goes to forming a picture of the superior value of the independent retailer in serving and being involved in the local community.”

Analysis of the answers by academic specialists will help MSYS in the run-up to National Independents’ Day on June lst when local and national media will be alerted to the nationwide celebration of the community value of the independent.

Toft added: “Independents are involved in their communities every working hour of every working day by the fact that local people visit the store continuously. Multiple c-stores are very professional and profitable, but their staff disciplines, in-store behaviour and stocking and marketing policies and decisions are made by distant head offices. We are setting out to create more positive, constructive, awareness and appreciation of the local independent sole trader who is local in every sense.”

The survey is organised by IMA Group, whose managing director Graham Shelley is a member of the FWD PR Action Group (PRAG), which is driving the MSYS campaign.

Retailers can respond to the questions on the following websites:

[http://www.fwd.co.uk]

[http://www.myshopisyourshop.co.uk]

[http://www.takehomeblueprint.co.uk]

[http://www.parfetts.co.uk]

[http://www.landmarkwholesale.co.uk] [http://www.costco.co.uk]

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