As usual, Steve Morris welcomed his first customer early at his Londis store in Dorrington, Lincolnshire, on Monday, June 2, the first day of National Independents’ Week 08. In a two-hour wine tasting later he pulled in pound;400, giving him a 25% increase in sales for the day, and it was a week which was to end with his trading increased and sales up by 11%.

Steve did not do anything which could be remotely described as revolutionary or mould-breaking. All he and the great team at his store injected into the week was a local food tasting, a colouring competition, a charity raffle, and a sense of fun and community.

“It was a great week. Involvement with the community as preached by MSYS works,” said Steve.


While Steve was putting on an increase of 11% over the week, Mandy Chinna, at Stamford News, in Birmingham, also put on a wine tasting and also generated a community profile for her shop – and she saw her sales for the week increase by 15% – and more ongoing.


Dan Cock, at his Whitestone Village Stores Post Office, in Devon, saw sales lift by 10% over the week.

Dan said: “MSYS is the perfect platform for me to give something back to the people who have supported me so loyally through the year. My customers saw it as a very positive activity. They thoroughly enjoyed our activities – and so did we.

“We had a wine tasting too – with great support from Constellation Europe. I will encourage every local small shop to become involved in and adopt the principles of the MSYS campaign – it will definitely increase their sales.”


Steve Robinson, running a successful Best-one in Streatham Hill, south London, saw NIW sales leap by 8% over his average weekly takings.

“The week definitely raised the profile of our store and highlighted the commitment we have to our customers. We also saw new people coming into the shop for the first time.

“One lady who was new to us came in for National Cuppa Day on June 3 – thanks by the way to sponsors Tetley for the tea and McVitie’s for the biscuits. She so enjoyed it that she returned the next day with a big Thank You card,” said Steve, a very ” switched on” independent retailer and a credit to the sector.

This is what MSYS is doing in addition to boosting sales. It is identifying Community Stars who are exemplars and who demonstrate beyond any doubt that the sector is not doomed and that small shops playing to their strengths are not victims but successful businesses.


Dennis and Linda Williams, now THE established community retailers in their locality after three years of working to MSYS principles at their Booker Premier, Broadway Convenience Store, in Edinburgh, used NIW to add a further 3% to weekly sales – on top of a 10% increase in NIW 07.


Lesley and Bill Brown, Booker Club members at Frankmarsh Stores, Barnstaple, now leading MSYS activists after the campaign stabilised their failing business and put it back on an upward trend, reported NIW sales up by 8% over NIW 07.

Lesley said: “In the period from April 1 to June 14 we are up 11 % over the same period last year. Charles Wilson, head of Booker, says our year-on-year figures are better than some of the multiples.”


=== McVITIE’S REPORT CUPPA SALES ‘impressive’ ===

McVitie’s sponsored the biscuit element in the National Cuppa Day promotion in NIW which gave independents the opportunity to give a free cup of Tetley tea and a Digestive, Hob Nobs or Ginger Nuts biscuit to their customers on June 3.

McVitie’s launched a four packs for the price of three, on its Everyday core range. Management at United Biscuits reports that sales growth was impressive during the eight-week promotional period with a dramatic leap during the promotional peak.

MSYS chairman Alan Toft commented: “Wholesalers are supportive of the concept of a National Cuppa Day but we are taking soundings from many quarters before going ahead with the same in 2009.”

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