Plea for shopper support at local businesses this Small Business Saturday

Small firms across the UK are calling for support ahead of tomorrow’s Small Business Saturday, as the event “edges closer” to a £1 billion spending spree.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 6:00 am
Conor Scott from 8 Yards kilt company and Liam Ross of Jewellery by Liam Ross show off their bespoke offerings in Edinburghs West End. Picture: Greg Macvean

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging the public to back the celebration of small and independent retailers, which saw shoppers spend more than £800 million on the day in 2018.

It comes as official figures show the number of small UK businesses rose to 5.8 million last year, with combined sales of £2 trillion.

However, FSB’s latest research found just 33 per cent of smaller retailers expect their prospects to improve in the coming three months, well 58 per cent expect performance to worsen.

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National chairman Mike Cherry said: “We’re edging ever closer to our first £1 billion spend. We’re calling on all shoppers to forget Black Friday and get behind this unique celebration of independent businesses.

“When you back a small business in your local community, you’re much more likely to see your money re-spent nearby than if you handed it over to a big corporation –through local job creation, purchases from other businesses and investment.

“With a general election just days away, it’s more important than ever that candidates get out to meet small business owners in their constituencies in order to understand the challenges we face."

'It's important to make noise'

Hamish Robertson, business development director at Edinburgh kilt maker 8 Yards, added: “Small Business Saturday is a campaign we strongly believe in. It is important to make noise, especially at this time of year, about small independent brands and businesses that offer bespoke craftsmanship and services.

"Small businesses appreciate every client that comes through their door, clients that shop small and shop local. These people make a huge difference to small businesses everywhere."

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Louise Matheson, managing director at food and drink retailer The Dumfries Larder, which is being highlighted as part of the campaign's SmallBiz 100, said: "This year we’ve been selected to be one of the SmallBiz100 and to celebrate we’re giving away a gift bag to our first fifty customers, including products from other small businesses in Dumfries & Galloway. We're hoping this year will be busier than ever and we've increased our range of Christmas products to meet increasing demand."

Independent research by Toluna for American Express, the principal supporter of Small Business Saturday, found that last year, the public spent £812m in independent retailers on the big day itself.