Small business retailers battling with decreasing footfall

Two thirds of independent retailers have seen the number of customers passing through their shop doors falling or remaining static in the last 12 months.

Some 16 per cent now fear they may go under during 2013 unless sales improve, according to a survey by O2.

More than half (54 per cent) of those polled report that generating consumer awareness is one of their biggest challenges to get customers through the door.

Almost a third (31 per cent) acknowledge that consumers simply aren’t aware of the benefits of choosing to shop locally with them.

Businesses blame an insufficient marketing budget (38 per cent) and a lack of time or capability to make more of these benefits (30 per cent).

The challenges and concerns voiced by small retailers are also echoed by consumers. When asked, 18 per cent could not even name an independent retailer near their home.

However, almost a quarter (24 per cent) visit independent shops once a week.

The top reasons consumers cite for visiting their local stores are convenience (45 per cent), their importance in the local community (40 per cent), the personal service (27 per cent) and the unique experience they offer (31 per cent).

See also: Consumers want a better high street with more small, independent businesses – The majority of shoppers think that improvements should be made to their local high street, research finds.

Michael Weedon, deputy chief executive of the British Independent Retailers Association, says, ‘Footfall is falling, draining the vitality of our towns and making life increasingly hard for independents.

‘There are over a quarter of a million small retail businesses in Great Britain and while consumers continue to love them, they do not see them as clearly as they do the big multiples with the big national brands.’

Alan Dobie

Alan Dobie

Alan was assistant editor at Vitesse Media Plc (previous owner of before moving on to a content producer role at Reed Business Information. He has over 17 years of experience in the...