Data from LDC and bira shows that across independent retail, more shops were opened than were closed in the first three months of this year. This was an increase of +414 shops, compared to a net increase of just +4 shops in H1 2016 and -194 stores in H1 2015.
These figures are supported by Vend’s customer data, which shows a 15% increase in sales and retail spending in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period last year. In London, where Vend has a large concentration of independent retail customers, sales rose by 18%.
However growth remains cautious, and Vend believes that SMB retailers still need better access to tools to help them compete. That’s why this month Vend is offering UK stores the chance to win a £20,000 package to support their growth. The prize consists of software and services vital to helping facilitate growth, including £6,000 of retail technology, £7,000 of retail support and £8,000 of street marketing as well as bira membership.
“In this kind of competitive environment, it’s so important for independent retailers to have access to the same tools and insights the big retailers have,” says Marc Cooper, Vice President EMEA at Vend. “Stores that already have this are seeing some amazing results, such as London retailer Number Six which has had 40% growth thanks to implementing a cloud system. We’re offering this retail package to give another retailer this same advantage. While we don’t yet know what the rest of the year will bring, we want to ensure local retailers are in good stead to ride whatever waves come in.”
Alan Hawkins, CEO, British Independent Retailers Association said: “One of the biggest challenges for retailers is attracting customers in the changing retail environment. Traditional retailers are under pressure and access to the technology that enables them to reduce costs, open new outlets or pop-ups, and easily offer eCommerce options can really stimulate growth. While our data for the first quarter of this year is still a way off the 11 store openings a week we saw in 2010, it is certainly a big step in the right direction for the sector.”
Details of Vend’s Retail Growth Package competition draw and how to apply are available at vendhq.com/uk/london. The deadline for competition entries is 12th June 2017.