November is Shop Small month and so to celebrate, we are focussing this month’s newsletter on the independent retailer.  When walking down any big city street you may think the world has been overtaken by big name chain stores, and certainly, independent retailers have been hit hard both by the consumers’ move to online shopping and those global behemoths that have arrived on our shores.  However, in the recent years there has been a growing trend to buying local, of supporting one’s local community, particularly amongst younger (Gen Z) consumers who have become more aware of the environmental impact of chain-retailers, and have begun to shop how our grandparents did.

The shop local trend really started on the back of the slow food movement that came out of the US, which promotes a simpler, cleaner and a less commercial approach to what we eat, and more importantly supports your local farmer. This has led to an increase in the number of restaurants and cafés stating on menus and blackboards the provenance of the food served.  You may also have noticed a monthly farmers’ market pop up in your local neighbourhood.  We have also seen the rise in the slow fashion movement as a percentage of people reject fast-fashion in favour of quality, ethically made timeless pieces.

That said, the independent retailer faces many challenges as outlined in a recent report (The Economy of Shopping Small, American Express 2016) the main take- out of which we discuss below.  And as the result of Brexit and the US election point to dissatisfaction in globalisation, what positive impact will this have on the small shopkeeper?

So this month we look at ways in which the independent retailer can benefit from, rather than be afraid of the online trend, we have an interview with a 3rd and 4th generation family retailer, look at both the challenges facing the independent retailer and some initiatives to help them and give our about to be launched Retail Success Series a really shameless plug…


Shop Small: A report into Australia’s small businesses and the consumers customer – November 2016 – American Express

American Express has produced a report into small business in Australia and has come up with some interesting insights.

There are approximately 2 million small businesses operating in Australia today, these represent a staggering 93% of all businesses.  They have a annual turnover of less than $2m and employ fewer than 20 people each.  Nearly two-thirds are sole operators with just over another quarter employing between 1-4 people.

One interesting point to note is the shift in desire by younger people (millennials) to set up and run their own business as opposed to working for someone else.  Contributor to the report, Dr Lara Moroko, Lecturer in Management at MGSM Macquarie University has this to say, “…There is a palpable undercurrent of entrepreneurialism in those ages 20-30, coupled with a desire to work for themselves and enjoy what they do as opposed to turning up to work for a salary.”

Some Fast Facts

  • Nearly half of state capital respondents live within a kilometre radius of a small shopping village
  • In terms of convenience 88% of respondents have easy access to local retail food, 87% to dining and drinks, whils only 60% to fashion retail
  • Just under half of respondents say they prefer to buy from a small business, although shopping patterns show a lean towards shopping from the major players

To read the report in full click here

Indie York

shop small local

Local shop owners launch Indie York

A lot of small business face the struggle of keeping up with the cost of retail rent, and are often pushed out by big brand names, with councils not doing much to support their community.

However, one council has teamed up with local businesses in York, England and launched “Indie York”

The idea was created by a group of independent retailers (the York Independent retailers Association) following the Boxing Day floods in 2015, which devastated a few businesses but steered away the crowds form many others who weren’t affected.

Just launched in time for the Christmas 2016 shopping season, Indie York aims to promote a diverse range of independent and specialist businesses in York city.

Each store is given an “iY” sticker to display in their shop window, as well as providing a map that identifies the independent retailers.

To visit the Indie York website