'Small Business Saturday' aim to cash in on latest shopping import Black Friday style

 

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The Independent Online

Small and independent retailers are hoping to persuade shoppers to back Small Business Saturday, another shopping import from the US that follows hot on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

A report by American Express today ahead of the event on the first Saturday in December revealed shopping locally in small shops provides £537m worth of free services to local communities annually in the UK while for every £1 spent by independent businesses 60p goes straight back into the local economy.

The bid to get shoppers thinking locally when doing their Christmas shopping follows the Black Friday and Cyber Monday retail promotions that began around the US Thanksgiving holiday. Another North American shopping  or maybe anti-shopping, movement, Buy Nothing Day this Saturday, is also gaining UK followers.

Kate Hardcastle, retail expert and supporter of Small Business Saturday, said: “We’ve long known that small businesses make a big contribution to their local economies.  What this research gives us for the first time is a sense of the extent to which independent small shops are investing in their local communities.“

Areas with a higher proportion of independent, small shops were found to increase social interactions between shoppers, with people in these areas twice as likely to say “hello” to people on their high street while people who live near small shops are 16 per cent more positive than those whose high street is less well represented with independents.

Rafa Marquez, UK managing director at American Express, said: ”This research shines a spotlight on those personal, added value services that take the notion of customer service to another level. We hope the rest of the country joins us in showing appreciation for these heroes of our high street by shopping small this Small Business Saturday.”

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